Alaska has cancelled its 2020 GOP primary. Alaska’s Republican Party State Central Committee cites the fact that the GOP has an incumbent president running for the Republican nomination.
Alaska joins Nevada, South Carolina, and Kansas in scrapping their respective GOP presidential nominating contests for 2020.
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.”
. . . . 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.
As noted above, this is not an unusual move for state parties when their party has a sitting president running for the nomination of their party.
For example, in 1996 when Bill Clinton was the incumbent, eight states chose not to hold Democratic presidential primaries, caucuses, etc. In 2012 when Obama was seeking his second term, ten states chose to bypass their Democrat presidential nominee selection process.
It is not an unusual move for state parties to forego primary contests when a strong incumbent is running for re-election as president.
For example, the South Carolina and Arizona Republican parties did not hold primaries in 1984 and 2004 when Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, respectively, were seeking re-election, according to the Associated Press.
In 2012, Democrats canceled 10 presidential preference contests, according to the New York Times.
“These are decisions made entirely by state parties and there are volumes of historical precedents to support them. Nevertheless, President Trump will dominate and prevail in whatever contest is placed before him,” Trump campaign communication director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement provided to USA TODAY of the possibility that the intra-GOP contests in the four states could be canceled.
Drew McKissick, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, also told the Times: “There is strong precedent on the part of both parties to not hold a primary when they control the White House.”
There are currently three long-shot GOP primary challengers to President Trump: Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, former Rep. Joe Walsh, and former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.
According to Real Clear Politics, none of them are polling well, with Trump leading each by more than 80 points in the most recent polls.
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