The Alaska Republican Party has officially thrown its support behind Donald Trump in next year’s presidential elections.
The party announced Saturday it is canceling next year’s presidential primary, officially known as the presidential preference poll.
Democrats will hold a separate presidential primary on April 4, 2020.
The announcement was made after a meeting of the Republican Party State Central Committee in Fairbanks. It said party officials determined “that conducting a PPP would serve no useful purpose when we have an incumbent Republican president, such as President Trump, running for the Republican nomination for President.”
Only registered Republicans are permitted to vote in the primary, which usually takes place during presidential election years. According to the party’s bylaws, any candidate who receives more than 13% of the vote in the poll will receive votes from Alaska’s delegates at the Republican National Convention in proportion to the support they received in the primary. The national convention determines the party’s presidential and vice presidential nominee.
In 2016, Alaska Republicans sent 28 delegates to the convention. Twelve were pledged to Ted Cruz, 11 to Donald Trump and five to Marco Rubio, based on the results of the poll. At the convention, national Republicans counted all 28 votes for Trump because Cruz and Rubio had already dropped out of the race. The decision caused a brief furor among Alaska Republicans.
Canceling primaries, caucuses and other voting is not unusual for the party of the White House incumbent seeking a second term. Doing so allows Trump to try to consolidate his support as Democrats work to winnow their large field of candidates.
Earlier this month, Republican leaders in Nevada, South Carolina and Kansas voted to scrap their presidential nominating contests in 2020, erecting more hurdles for the long-shot candidates challenging Trump, The Associated Press reported.
Challengers have emerged to Trump, including former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and Joe Walsh, a former Illinois congressman. Others may join them.
Some information in this story was provided by the Associated Press.