Alaska’s Republican Party canceled their 2020 presidential primary and threw their support behind President Donald Trump, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
The Republican Party State Central Committee in Fairbanks announced that they would not hold a primary next year and issued a statement saying that it “would serve no useful purpose when we have an incumbent Republican president, such as President Trump, running for the Republican nomination for President.”
In 2016, the state’s 28 delegates were split between three candidates: 12 for Ted Cruz, 11 for Trump, and 5 for Marco Rubio.
Trump has already drawn three primary challengers this year: former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, and former South Carolina Governor and Rep. Mark Sanford.
Other states canceled primaries too:
Earlier this month, Republican leaders in Nevada, South Carolina, Arizona, and Kansas voted to cancel their primaries and caucus contests as well.
It’s not unusual for parties of incumbents to cancel primaries.
“In 1992, Republicans canceled eight states’ primaries to make it easier for President George H.W. Bush’s re-nominating fight against conservative commentator Pat Buchanan,” Time reported. “Democrats in eight states canceled primaries in 1996 to make Bill Clinton’s second term easier to find. In 2004, the GOP nixed 10 states’ contents to help George W. Bush, and Democrats in 2012 did away with 10 contests.”
Primary challengers slam GOP:
Weld, Walsh, and Sanford penned a joint op-ed in The Washington Post decrying the state parties’ moves.
“Today the Republican Party has taken a wrong turn, led by a serial self-promoter who has abandoned the bedrock principles of the GOP,” They wrote. “In the Trump era, personal responsibility, fiscal sanity and rule of law have been overtaken by a preference for alienating our allies while embracing terrorists and dictators, attacking the free press and pitting everyday Americans against one another. No surprise, then, that the latest disgrace, courtesy of Team Trump, is an effort to eliminate any threats to the president’s political power in 2020.”
“If a party stands for nothing but reelection, it indeed stands for nothing,” they warned. “Do Republicans really want to be the party with a nominating process that more resembles Russia or China than our American tradition?”
The trio also warned that it would be a mistake to allow Democrats to “dominate the national conversation” during the primary season.
“In the United States, citizens choose their leaders,” they concluded. “The primary nomination process is the only opportunity for Republicans to have a voice in deciding who will represent our party. Let those voices be heard.”