On Tuesday, registered Alaska Republicans finally have the opportunity to cast their lot with one of the four presidential candidates still standing.
In years past, Alaska's small population has prompted candidates to spend campaign funds and time elsewhere. But this year, with unlimited donations filling coffers and a still-close primary race, the leader has on multiple occasions sent family surrogates to campaign, the dark horse doctor has actually made the trek north, and the two in between have played up Alaska talk radio and phone-in townhalls.
Mitt Romney enjoys support from statewide-elected Alaska Republicans. Newt Gingrich has an endorsement from Todd Palin, former Iron Dog champ and husband of the former governor. Ron Paul's got a sizable contingent of Alaska's younger voters sewn up, as was evident by appearances this past weekend at standing-room-only rallies in Anchorage and Fairbanks. And Rick Santorum? Sarah Palin has given him the equivalent of a "thumb's up" for staying on message throughout the primary season, but she hasn't come out and endorsed him, or anyone else for that matter.
So where does all this leave Alaskans?
A time-tested theorem in Alaska politics: party kowtowing matters less here than perseverance, independence and a willingness to do what's right for Alaskans. Mavericks, write-ins and sometimes renegades win here on Election Day.
Who, what, when and where
Who can vote in Alaska on Super Tuesday: The Presidential Preference Poll is open to all registered Republicans. Sorry, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, Socialists and others -- if you're not willing to register with the GOP, you'll be turned away. (Democrats will have their chance to stand behind President Barack Obama, who's running uncontested, during the Democratic caucuses, April 10-14).
Just because you aren't currently registered as a faithful GOP voter, however, doesn't mean you can't do so at the polling station. Alaska Republican Party registration will reportedly be available in all polling precincts. In other words, you can register on-site and vote accordingly.
When to vote in Alaska on Super Tuesday: The Alaska GOP reports that polling places will be open from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. Make sure to bring a government-issued photo ID card -- state ID, driver's license or a federal passport -- to avoid complications with casting your vote.
Where to vote in Alaska on Super Tuesday: Because of redistricting, many Alaska voters may find themselves in different districts, with different polling places than when they last voted in an election. There are approximately 41 different places across the state where Republicans will vote on Tuesday.
The first thing to do is figure out what district you live in. Click here to enter your address and find out what Alaska district you now reside in. Next, take a look at this list from the Alaska Republican Party of Super Tuesday polling places. Find your district on the list and the corresponding polling address. Questions or concerns should be addressed by Republican Party representativeslisted here. Email GOP reps for more information on voting in your district.
What you're voting for on Super Tuesday: The vote on Tuesday is for your choice for Republican presidential nominee. Four candidates -- Gingrich, Paul, Romney and Santorum -- have all qualified for the GOP ballot, according to state party officials.
Alaska offers 27 delegates, and all but three of them will be split proportionately among vote recipients. So each candidate will likely receive some percentage of Alaska's overall delegate count. After the votes have all been counted, the Alaska GOP will choose district delegates. Those Alaskans will travel to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., in August, where they'll stand with the candidate who won their district. Theoretically, a candidate must accrue 1,144 delegates to win the Republican presidential nomination.
Contact Eric Christopher Adams at eric(at)alaskadispatch.com