March 1, 2012 | Vol. 42 No. 8

Local GOP to vote on presidential hopefuls Local GOP to vote on presidential hopefuls

Republicans in the Chilkat Valley will get to weigh in on the GOP presidential nomination process during the state party’s Presidential Preference Poll on Tuesday, March 6. It will be held 4 to 8 p.m. at the Captain’s Choice Motel lounge.

“It’s not quite a primary, but this is to get our opinion out. So it’s included in the (nominating) process, we do it this way,” explained Bill Kurz, treasurer of the Republican Party at the district level.

Alaska will divide 24 of its 27 delegates on a proportional basis, according to the vote. Three delegates come from the ranks of the Republican National Committee.

Kurz said the field is too divided to make any predictions about Tuesday’s outcome. “It’s all over the board. No one seems to be sure. I see pure scattershot at this point,” with votes possibly divided equally among ones for Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

Some pundits say Congressman Ron Paul of Texas could find a surge of support in Alaska, due to the state’s independent and Libertarian factions. “Paul’s honorable and has good intentions and a lot of people like a lot of things he’s saying, but they also realize that what’s appealing isn’t necessarily practical,” Kurz said.

He cited as an example Paul’s call for withdrawing U.S. troops overseas. “Defending our country takes a whole lot more than just standing at the border.”

The broad field and split decisions so far in the primary process aren’t necessarily bad, as they allow voters more time learn about candidates, Kurz said.

About 125 local party members turned out during the last poll, ranking Haines among spots in the state with the highest per capita participation. To cast a vote, one must be registered Republican. Voters can register to vote or change their registration at the event.

From 6 to 7 p.m., an election of Republican district leadership will be held. The election will be for leadership of the party in House District #34, Haines’ new state House district, which includes Sitka. Votes for party leaders will be tallied districtwide, via teleconference.

To participate in the district leadership election, party members must pay a $20 convention registration fee. Besides Kurz, current district leadership includes chair Robert Venables of Haines, vice-chair Kathy Hosford of Skagway, and secretary Janet Kurz of Haines.

Bill Kurz said it’s important to have the party’s district leaders from Haines to form a leadership team with state House Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Haines. For more information, go to alaskarepublicans.com.