Donald Trump edged out Ted Cruz by one vote in Haines’ Republican presidential preference poll. Alaska was one of about a dozen states that took part in ‘Super Tuesday.’
Of the 78 Haines voters who participated in the Republican poll, 26 were for Trump and 25 were for Cruz. Haines resident Janet Kurz said she voted for Trump.
“Because he’s not a politician for one thing and he might be able to get things done. At least stir Washington DC up. By a lot of things he’s said, I think he’ll do a good job.”
Shannon Del Prete is a Cruz supporter. Why did she vote for Cruz?
“This sounds terrible, but what my husband told me. I think partly some of the other ones that I might’ve gone for just didn’t have enough recognition or not enough people that would vote for them, so you’ve got pick somebody that you hope people are gonna go for.”
The other candidates did get fewer votes in Haines and across the state and country. Marco Rubio garnered 18 Haines votes, John Kasich received six, and Ben Carson got just three votes.
Statewide, Texas Senator Cruz garnered the most support. About 36 percent of Alaska GOP voters went for Cruz. Trump came in second, with 33.5 percent. Rubio was third place with 15 percent.
Alaska Republicans will send 28 delegates to the national convention in July, where the party will choose a presidential nominee. The Alaska Dispatch News reported that based on the Super Tuesday voting, 12 of the Alaska delegates will be pledged to Cruz, 11 will be for Trump and five for Rubio.
Turnout around the state for the GOP preference poll was especially high. Haines resident Scott Bradford said it he voted at the preliminary poll for the first time because he wanted to support Trump.
“He wants to protect our borders and make our military strong again, and that’s really important to me,” Bradford said.
The state Republican Party put rules in place that only registered Republicans could vote in the poll. That means undeclared or non-affiliated voters couldn’t participate. But Judy Heinmiller, who ran the Haines poll, said 16 people (about 20 percent of the people who cast ballots) registered as Republicans on the spot in order to vote.
“Lots of people felt strongly enough about this that they signed up to be, they joined the party basically to be able to vote.”
But not everyone was willing to register as Republican to cast a vote. Haines resident Al Morgan walked away when he heard that was the case.
“I’m undeclared. So I’d have to register as a Republican and I don’t want to,” Morgan said.
Who would he have voted for?
“Anybody but Trump.”
Nationwide, Trump won in the majority of Super Tuesday states, with Cruz garnering the second highest number of wins.
The Alaska Democratic Party is holding a caucus later this month, on March 26. In states where the Democratic Party did hold Super Tuesday events, Hillary Clinton won the majority, over rival candidate Bernie Sanders.
Note: All Alaska results are technically unofficial for the time being.