March 8, 2012 | Vol 42, No. 10

Local GOP for Romney

Mitt Romney won the Presidential Preference Poll of local Republicans on Tuesday, when turnout was a third of the 2008 total.

Residents cast 39 votes at the Captain’s Choice Motel lounge, and the tally was Romney, 15; Ron Paul, 11; Rick Santorum, 9; Newt Gingrich, 3; and undecided, 1.

Romney also won the statewide poll that was part of the “Super Tuesday” GOP presidential nomination process, with 32 percent of the votes. He topped Santorum, 29 percent; Paul, 24 percent; and Gingrich, 14 percent. Alaska’s registered Republicans cast 13,219 votes, down slightly from the 13,703 in 2008.

The 2008 poll drew 117 party members in Haines.

“As we all know, Haines is a very engaged community on the issues, and we’re just glad we have the opportunity to participate in a historic event,” said Robert Venables, chair of the Republican Party at the district level.

House District #34 also chose its Republican district leadership Tuesday. Venables and secretary Janet Kurz of Haines were re-elected. The new district includes Sitka and Prince of Wales Island.

Resident Bill Kurz, treasurer, said he wasn’t too surprised about the lower vote total for the preference poll in Haines, and he expects more excitement by the November general election against President Barack Obama.

Kurz said for the 2008 preference poll, “People were wound up, whereas this time, around town, generally for the people I’ve talked to, it’s been a big, old ‘ho-hum.’”

Among residents at the Captain’s Choice around 6 p.m., Scott Rossman said he would support “anybody but Obama.” “I thought Jimmy Carter was bad,” Rossman said. “We’ve hit a new low.”

Mary Lekanof said she voted for Romney, whom she called “a good family man.” Lekanof said she’s not deterred by comments that the party won’t rally around Romney.

“I watch the pundits and hear all their opinions,” she said. “They don’t persuade me one way or the other, but I do enjoy listening to other people’s points of view.”

John Schnabel, another Romney backer Tuesday, said he likes the former Massachusetts governor’s philosophy about the country. Schnabel said Gingrich might be a better debater, but Romney has the best chance to defeat Obama. “It’s a question of who can win.”

Joyce Town said she attended the event to show support for the local Republican Party and representatives. She said high gas and oil prices are two of her concerns, but she had not yet committed to a candidate.

“Although this has been going on for quite some time, I haven’t had the chance to really sit and listen to any of them,” she said.

The Alaska vote awarded 24 delegates, divided proportionally among the candidates. The allocation was Romney, 8; Santorum, 7; Paul, 6; and Gingrich, 3.