Trump or Haley? Alaska Republicans vote Tuesday

man and woman in business attire walk down a hallway
Then-president Donald Trump and Nikki Haley, his UN ambassador in 2018. Her criticism of him as a candidate has grown increasingly pointed as they compete for the 2024 nomination. (Official White House photo, 2018)

Alaska Republicans can vote Tuesday for a presidential nominee in the party-run poll. Donald Trump, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy are on the ballot. 

Alaska’s Super Tuesday event isn’t a traditional state-run election. It’s organized by the party. The polls will be open from 3 to 8 pm Tuesday at nearly two dozen sites around the state, mostly churches and community centers. 

Kelly Tshibaka, chair of Trump’s Alaska campaign, said she’s striving to get a good turnout for Trump to guard against any move Haley might make to convert delegates to win the Republican nomination.

“One of the theories out there is that there will be a real effort at the national convention to do a procedural play, or an overthrow play … And so we want to make sure that we have a really strong, if not a unanimous, showing for Trump for delegates,” Tshibaka said.

Meanwhile, Haley’s Alaska campaign is working the phones to boost turnout for the former South Carolina governor. Haley’s Alaska co-chair, Art Hackney, said some Trump supporters are hostile to the idea that Haley is even running.

“As long as she’s got money, and people expressing support, she has every right to go forward and continue campaigning,” Hackney said. “And then (the process) has every right to play itself out. Because we don’t know how anything’s going to end. We never do in politics.”

To vote in what’s officially called a “Presidential Preference Poll” voters have to be registered Republicans. State party chair Ann Brown said Alaskans can register or change their registration on site and still participate. She said voters just need to bring a driver’s license or other official photo i.d. The volunteers at the polling site will verify eligibility by looking up the voter registration records, she said.

Ramaswamy dropped out of the race in January and endorsed Trump, but Brown said the party has no mechanism for removing him from the ballot. 

The party expects to report results Tuesday night on its social media pages, with final results coming on March 11.

The presidential preference poll determines how Alaska’s 29 delegates to the national Republican nominating convention will be awarded. Any candidate receiving less than 13% of the vote won’t get any delegates.

Many communities off the road system, particularly in Western Alaska, the entire North Slope, and House District 2 in Southeast, have no polling sites. Brown said Republicans who live there can vote if they happen to be visiting somewhere else that has a polling place. She said the preference poll is run by volunteers and that limited where the party could set up a voting site.

As for Alaska’s Democrats, they’ll have the chance to choose their presidential nominee April 13. Two names will be on the ballot: President Joe Biden and challenger Dean Phillips.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her at Read more about Liz here.

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