Alaska Republican Caucuses Approaching

By the time Alaska’s caucuses come along, it’s usually clear who’s going to be the next presidential nominee. But this year, the race is close, and those Alaskan votes might hold more sway than usual.

Alaska is known for its fierce individualism, and apparently that carries over to caucus time for the Republicans. Instead of holding a traditional caucus with debates and a bunch of hoopla, Alaska Republicans get straight to the point with a ‘preference poll’ and ‘district conventions’.

It’s as simple as this: During a four-hour period on Super Tuesday, March 6, (4 to 8pm Alaska Standard Time) Alaska Republicans will turn out across the state to vote for their preferred candidate. Four candidates are on the ballot, Mitt Ronmey, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Only registered Republicans can vote.

The Alaska Division of Elections says, (as of 2/3/12) there are a little less than half a million voters in the state. A few more than 131,000 are registered as Republican voters in the state. Four years ago 13,703 people voted in the 2008 process.

With no presidential primary elections, Alaska is not considered a priority state for candidates, so there has been no in-person campaigning here so far. Romney sent his son to campaign for him in the Anchorage and Fairbanks areas in February. Romney has been endorsed by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski and Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell, also a Republican.

Oil and gas take center stage in Alaska politics, and Alaskans will be watching for cues on how presidential candidates view their development of those resources.

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Daysha Eaton, KMXT - Kodiak
Daysha Eaton is a contributor with the Alaska Public Radio Network. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.