Alaska Democrats gear up to run their presidential primary - Must Read Alaska
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Alaska Democrats gear up to run their presidential primary

Alaska Democrats are abandoning the sometimes-unpleasant caucusing system, where people go to a local district gymnasium on a specified day to haggle for their favorite presidential candidate and rotate around the room raising their hands for their presidential picks.

For the first time, the Alaska Democratic Party is moving to the system pioneered by Alaska Republicans, the presidential preference primary, but with upgrades: Democrats will use electronic voting, rather than paper.

And they are not calling it a “Presidential Preference Poll” like the Alaska Republicans call theirs, but instead it will be a “Presidential Preference Party-Run Primary.”

Wordy but accurate.

[Read: Democrats may make dramatic change to their primary process]

A simple way to think of a PPP is that it is caucusing by ballot box in every House district, and it’s run by volunteers, which makes it a bit cumbersome, compared to elections run by the State of Alaska.

In Alaska, such a system of picking presidential candidates is hard enough in towns, but harder still in vast rural areas. It’s Jedi-level volunteer management, not without its hazards. Whether by caucus or PPP, a lot of rural Alaskans don’t have the opportunity to participate in these exercises.

After the voting period closes, the ballots are counted by volunteers at the district level and the results are called into Party Headquarters, which then uses them during the state convention to divvy up delegates going to the national convention.

Ensuring accuracy and instilling confidence in voters that the votes will be counted fairly is a challenge the Democrats will have to figure out. During their last primary process, they lost the confidence of many of their members, after Bernie Sanders voters felt disenfranchised by a system that appeared to pre-pick Hillary Clinton.

[Read: Wikileaks emails show Alaska Democrats fretting about Bernie rebels]

Here’s how the Democrats’ presidential preference primary will operate:

The Democrats are calling it a true primary, complete with electronic voting centers open for four hours on April 4, 2020. This date coincides with Hawaii’s Democrat primary.

Democrats will then gather by House district and elect delegates to the State Convention, which will take place May 15-18 in Fairbanks. That’s where delegates and alternates to the Democratic National Convention will be selected. Those delegates and alternates will be assigned who they must vote for at the Democratic National Convention.

In other words, if Bernie Sanders gets 50 percent of the vote and Joe Biden gets 50 percent, half of the delegates heading to the national convention would be required to vote for either Sanders or Biden.

[Read: the Democrats’ new plan for choosing delegates for the 2020 Democratic National Convention]

The Democratic National Convention is where the actual presidential candidate will be selected by the delegates from around the country. It will be held in Milwaukee Wisconsin from July 13-16, 2020.

Alaska Democrats say that any registered Democrat can participate in the Democrat PPP, and Alaskans can register as Democrats anytime up until April 4, 2020, to be eligible to participate. This had been the same for Republicans when they held their PPPs, but the rules are now that voters must be registered as Republicans 90 days prior to the PPP. It’s a way to grow your party numbers.

April 4, 2020 is a Saturday, a full month after Super Tuesday (March 3). Most of the Democrat candidates will be gone by then, but with electronic voting, the Alaska Democrats will be able to adjust their offerings to the few that remain.The locations that will be announced after Oct. 19, 2019, and voting will take place from 10 am to 2 pm on April 4.

The Democrats’ PPP will occur three days before the Anchorage Municipal Election ballots are due back in for the Assembly seats that will be on the ballot. It is likely the Democrats in Anchorage will use their PPP to assist in the get-out-the-vote effort to elect left-leaning Assembly members in Alaska’s largest city, and may even engage in ballot harvesting practices in conjunction with their PPP.

Why not wait until the Aug. 18 state-run primary? Neither Democrats or Republicans can do that, because the national conventions are July 13 for Democrats and Aug. 24 for Republicans. This is the main reason the parties have run their own preference-primaries and caucuses — they need to get through their district and state conventions and pick their delegates to send to the national convention.

WILL REPUBLICANS HAVE A PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE POLL?

The Alaska Republican Party will meet in September and decide on whether it will do a PPP for 2020. It has conducted a PPP for the last three contested presidential cycles, and this year, there’s no real contest, so turnout for such an exercise would naturally be low.

Odds are good that Republicans will skip the PPP process this time around and keep their volunteer focus on House, Senate, and the two statewide seats they want to protect: Sen. Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young.

DEMOCRATS START THEIR DEBATE SEASON

June 26 and 27: First Democrat Primary debate in Miami, (NBC News, MSNBC, Telemundo), moderated by Savannah Guthrie, Lester Hold, Chuck Todd, Rachel Maddow, and José Diaz-Balart.

Candidate qualifications: To qualify, Democratic candidates needed to get one percent in three national polls, or raise $65,000 or more from at least 200 donors in at least 20 states. If more than 20 candidates qualified, those with the lowest polling numbers are eliminated.

Qualified: Colorado Senator Michael Bennet; former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; New Jersey Senator Cory Booker; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former housing secretary Julián Castro of Texas; New York, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio; former Maryland Congressman John Delaney; Hawaii Congressman Tulsi Gabbard; New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; California Senator Kamala Harris; former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper; Washington Governor Jay Inslee; Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar; former Congressman Texas Beto O’Rourke; Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; California Congressman Eric Swalwell; Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren; Marianne Williamson of California; and Andrew Yang of New York.

  • First night: Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, and Elizabeth Warren.
  • Second night: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.

IMPORTANT FUTURE DATES

July 13, 2020, the 48th Democratic National Convention, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Aug. 24, 2020, the 42nd Republican National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina

July 30-13 : Second round of Democrat debates in Detroit, CNN

Sept. 12-13: Third announced Democrat debates, location TBD, and it will have a higher qualifying threshold. ABC and Univision

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • I could be mistaken but isn’t the 2020 Municipal Election for a new mayor and not assembly seats?

  • Wow…
    Wikileaks, Democrats and Rebels all in one story!
    This missing Democrat in the 2020 presidential race is former U.S. Senator (from Alaska) Mike Gravel who has moved to the Democratic party after a short stint as a “Libertarian”.
    Vox Reported:
    “Mike Gravel, the anti-war zealot, is running for president on Twitter.”
    Many alternative media outlets are interviewing Gravel as his anti war position resonates with more and more young Americans.
    Here is a podcast Mike did with Abbey Martin where they also discussed Wikileaks and the implications for journalists as Jullian Assange is being charged under the Espionage Act.
    Several older Alaskans may remember that Senator Gravel was responsible for releasing the Pentagon Papers (regarding the Vietnam War) to Congress years ago which was considered at the time “classified documents” and first published by the New York Times.
    https://player.fm/series/media-roots-radio/ending-the-war-on-terror-fighting-for-civil-rights-with-presidential-candidate-mike-gravel

    • Just what the Dimocrats need:
      another OLD, white male.
      The Alzheimers Party of all inclusiveness. LOL!

      • Is Mark Begich running again?

  • “Democrats will use electronic voting, rather than paper.”
    .
    One almost feels sorry for the Party of open borders, baby butchery, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, Clinton Foundation pay-to-play, obamacare, state surveillance on political campaigns, attempted coup d’etat, IRS scandal, the Pigford scandal, NSA spying scandal, Solyndra, $150B cash to Iran, etc, etc, etc..
    .
    What, with “Russia-gate”, now Democrats have to vote… electronically?
    .
    Think about it, you don’t want carloads of paper ballots showing people voted for the wrong person!
    .
    With electronic voting, guided, of course, by proprietary software, the correct person must win.
    .
    If the correct person does not win, the outcome will be blamed on President Trump and/or Russians.
    .
    Once again, this will not open to discussion.
    .
    Recall, “In a statement to WIRED, a senior FBI law enforcement official wrote in an email Thursday that “The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated.” (https://www.wired.com/2017/01/fbi-says-democratic-party-wouldnt-let-agents-see-hacked-email-servers/)
    .
    So… Everybody wins, the correct candidate is endorsed, if not, it’s clearly President Trump’s fault and the correct candidate will somehow bubble up to the top of the heap, anyway.
    .
    Problem solved…

  • July 30-13 : Second round of Democrat debates in Detroit, CNN
    should be
    July 30-31: Second round of Democrat debates in Detroit, CNN

  • Beto and Tulsi Gabbard would make a cute couple…

    (Actually, if Rep. Gabbard would renounce her swing to the far Left, she might be a formidable candidate.)

    • I like Tulsi Gabbard because she doesn’t play partisan and identity political games, have you seen her interview on Joe Rogan? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR8UcnwLH24

      • Perhaps I will take a look, if for no other reason than Rep. Gabbard can be easy on the eye…

        I have been asked if there is any Democrat that I would consider voting for. Ordinarily, I would say never; that is a really big ask for me. Nevertheless these things ALWAYS require comparison. If President Trump does (yet again) something completely irrational or goes off on some weird Twitter rant, I could, in the privacy of the voting booth, vote for the other candidate. Trump fatigue is real.

        • Euphemizing Trump Derangement Syndrome as Trump fatigue, no?
          .
          By all means, do vote for the other (Democrat) candidate if his version of American values appeals more.

          • Recommend that you take a breath. The point is a simple one: If the Dems somehow come up with a rational candidate (admittedly unlikely), and the President is acting irrationally, the election could go the other way. That isn’t “derangement syndrome;”; That is common sense.

        • Trump fatigue is only real because YOU choose to constantly pay attention to what Trump does. I live in a Trump-free world and have no Trump Derangement or Trump Fatigue because I don’t watch any news outlook on TV, my Twitter feed hasn’t added Trump as a friend, and I really don’t care what Trump (or any politician) has to say. I opt to read all sorts of news, from conservative to progressive, and even then I opt the articles I choose. Reason is my favorite though.
          YOU are the one allowing Trump to live in your head rent free. All politicians lie, say one thing and do another, and act like pampered children. YOU can opt to quit letting him control your fatigue. It’s not like we’re living in China that controls their media.

          • When voting for President (in most cases) the names of the nominees are listed on the ballot and history suggests that what the candidates say and do is important. Some may wish to collapse the contest into a “conservative vs. liberal” choice but that is only part of it. While each is generally viewed as conservative, there would be enormous differences among the Presidencies of Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. The Presidency matters; the President exercises real power. President Trump behaves irrationally at times. That matters. I may not vote for him, but I might.

      • Tulsi’s father, Mike Gabbard, was a state legislator in Hawaii, and a minister. Also, a conservative Republican who fought hard against gay marriage.

  • Not very democratic of the Democrats, but then again, they haven’t been democratic in a very very long time.

  • Thanks!

  • Democrats gaming and cheating each other! This is their WARM-UP before the big game. Get election fraud down to a very specialized skill. Tune-up those ACCU-VOTE election machines so they show Democrats winning even in Republican districts. This is what Democrats are best at. Cheating. But even THAT won’t save them. Trump in a super landslide in 2020!

  • Reply to JMARK / June 24, 2019…
    .
    That was a test.
    .
    Somebody decided: forget millenials, safe spaces, Democrats, Republicans, politically correct, et., etc., ad nauseam, here’s the deal… I got something to say, I’m gonna write something and you, Morrigan, and everybody else are gonna read it (because I know you will!), and right, wrong, or indifferent, you’re gonna deal with it.
    .
    One response to one curmudgeonette’s tweak on one subject…
    .
    Imagine being tweaked 24/7 by a worldwide army of curmudgeons and news media whose sacred mission is making you look bad and overthrowing your presidency.
    .
    Gotta respond, gotta say something, or you’ll get nailed for being weak, indecisive… Not through news media who despise you and the Americans who elected you, so, what’s left… Twitter! That’s how you can talk bluntly, forthrightly, directly to your supporters, and, by the way, to infidels who don’t like you so much.
    .
    Felicidades, you passed…

    • I think we would agree that President Trump has been savaged beyond all understanding by a media and Deep State that wants to defeat him at any and all costs. This has been an attempted coup d’Etat by the most corrupt group of Northeasterners in several generations.

      As bad as that is, the President engages in self-destructive behavior. He could help himself a lot.p by stopping.

      • Respectfully disagree on the self-destructive part…
        .
        Unlike President Trump’s predecessor who, if he spoke to you at all. was to talk “down” to you, lecture you, as if all your peers were watching, gently scolding, anybody who knows how the world works already knows this stuff, you need to get on board…
        ..
        Oops, now we got a guy who talks straight across to you, in no uncertain terms, like you’re a decent American who’s got an IQ above room temperature, who cares about borders, language, culture, everything that makes America great, stuff gotta get done, and you’re already part of doing it…
        .
        Exhilarating! Ain’t heard that since Reagan and, bless your heart, Ronaldus Magnus wasn’t perfect either.
        .
        So you Deplorable, you go with it, what a wild ride… safe spaces my (expl del)!… Peer pressure from so-called friends whose world begins and ends with the likes of Hillary Clinton?
        .
        Oh hell no!… not on a good day… you’re JMARK, who’d say the same stuff if hell froze over and you accidentally got elected president, no?
        .
        Who was it said, “Damn the torpedoes full speed ahead!”…
        .
        You? that’s my guess…

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