Alaska Republicans holding conventions this month

Alaska Republicans are holding district conventions around the state this month. Last week, Ted Cruz won 12 Alaska delegates in the state GOP Preference Poll, followed by Donald Trump with 11 and Marco Rubio with 5. The state republican party will choose 28 delegates to represent those votes at the state convention in Fairbanks at the end of April. The national convention takes place in Cleveland in July.

Peter Goldberg is Chair of the Alaska GOP. He says this year there’s been a lot of interest in the entire process from party members:

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GOLDBERG: We’ve only had a few conventions so far this past Saturday. Far more of them will take place in the next couple of weeks. But the indications are that there will be a lot of interest. District 11 for example, which is out in the Mat-Su area, they totally filled their delegate allowance.

TOWNSEND: With Donald Trump now holding a delegate lead on the GOP side, there’s been talk of a brokered convention. What would that look like, and how likely do you think something like that is?

GOLDBERG: Okay. There’s no guarantee at this point in time that Donald Trump is going to walk into the convention with a majority of the delegates. Now according to the rules, the way the rules are written today, in order to get the nomination, you must get 50% plus 1, or a majority of the votes, at the national convention. The 36 states that had their poll on or before March 15, their delegates are pledged and they have no choice but to vote for the candidate that they are pledged to on that first ballot. But if no one wins that majority on the first ballot, at that point in time, each states’ rules will kick in. In Alaska’s case, if there’s a second ballot, we remain pledged to the same candidate. If it goes to a third ballot, then our rules say, the candidate that got the fewest votes on the second ballot, then our delegates pledged to that candidate would then become free to change their vote. And that would unwind if it came to a fourth or a fifth ballot. Each state will elect, from within our delegates, two people. One man, one woman. And they will sit on a rules committee that will meet before the convention proper kicks off. So 56 men and 56 women from across sections, from across the country including our territories are going to meet together to discuss any possible changes to the rules that they feel are appropriate going in to the national convention. But if we define brokered convention as some key influential people in a back room drinking whiskey and smoking cigars, there ain’t no such animal.

TOWNSEND: Do you think there will be sort of, maybe this is happening now, are Republicans doing some soul searching about what the future may look like for the party coming out of this next big election?

GOLDBERG: I think you’d have to ask each individual Republican that. I’ve heard people say, ‘we need people that are going to support the Base.’ And the Base is the conservatives. Personally I counter that. The Base is anyone that’s got an R next to their name when they’re registered. The Republican Party, and the Democratic Party, are just two political spectrums that kind of meet in the middle. If someone is 51% more Republican and 49% Democrat, they’re still a Republican. So each person’s perspective is going to be a little bit different.


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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 24 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori