Alaska goes to Cleveland: Dispatches from the Republican National Convention

Monday, July 18, 2016

Dear Donald Trump

Updated, 2:20 p.m. Alaska time

Alaska's congressional delegation gave presumptive Republican presidential nominee a guide to their energy wishes in Alaska in a letter sent to the candidate this weekend, dated July 14.

U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and congressman Don Young touted the oil available offshore in the Arctic, in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Gaining access to those federal lands is critical to maintain the viability of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System," they wrote. "Unleashing Alaska's natural resource potential through new oil, gas, mineral and renewable resource development will create jobs, spur economic opportunity, and strengthen our security."

Read the full letter


Updated, 1 p.m. Alaska time

Things got rowdy on the floor of the Republican Convention this afternoon, when party officials attempted to take a voice vote to approve the convention's rules, as adopted by a committee last week.

It was the end of the line for the #NeverTrump camp, a group of delegates who were banking on a last-ditch effort to "unbind" delegates obligated to vote for Donald Trump in the nomination process.

Shouting and chaos erupted on the floor when Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas declared that the rules were adopted by a voice vote, though the "nos" were surprisingly loud.

The anti-Trump crowd needed signatures from the majority of seven state delegations to bring the issue to a vote on the floor. The group told some news outlets that it had obtained signatures from the majority of nine delegations, and some signatures from Alaskans.

Because Alaska awards its delegates proportionately, rather than winner-take-all, there isn't really much of a movement in the state to unburden anti-Trump delegates: They are already obligated to vote for either Sen. Ted Cruz or Sen. Marco Rubio.

Womack came back on the stage several minutes later to subdue the chaotic scene on the convention floor.

"The chair would remind the hall that it is absolutely critical that we are able to discern the ayes from the nays," he said. Both crowds delivered their loudest cries again.

But then he delivered the final blow: The committee received signatures from nine delegations asking for a reconsideration of the rules, but some delegates had later withdrawn their signatures. Three states subsequently fell below the majority line. That left the "Never Trump" camp with majorities in only six states — one short of their last-ditch effort to get a vote on the floor that would allow delegates to vote against Trump.

Updated, 10:30 a.m. Alaska time

Welcome to Cleveland! Alaska's most enthusiastic Republicans are here to party it up with fellow elephant lovers and select their nominee to be president. It looks like it's going to be Donald Trump.

The Alaska delegation is staying in Beechwood, Ohio, about 30 minutes from the convention center in Cleveland, depending on how many times the bus circles the block for unknown security reasons. The Wyoming delegation is staying in the same hotel, and the pairing seems apt if not deliberate.

Alaskans here for the convention all have Alaska GOP kuspuks on — or at least when they're inside. It's a bit steamy for a parka out and about in Cleveland.

The two delegations — and Sens. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and John Barrasso of Wyoming — shared brunch and buses Monday morning before heading downtown to the big show and its incredibly long and winding security lines.

A word to the wise: No drones or umbrellas.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus pounded the gavel and began proceedings at 1 p.m. Monday on the dot, beginning with a presentation of the flag and Pledge of Allegiance.

If you're following along on C-SPAN, the Alaska delegation is here:

ADN reporter Erica Martinson is in Cleveland covering Alaskans and Alaska issues at the Republican National Convention. 

Erica Martinson

Erica Martinson is a former reporter for the Anchorage Daily News based in Washington, D.C.