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Alaska Holds Contested Primary for Libertarian, Alaskan Independence Parties

Alaska held primaries on August 19. For U.S. Senate, three Libertarians appeared on the ballot, and two members of the Alaskan Independence Party appeared on the ballot. Here is a link to the unofficial returns.

The vote for the three Libertarians was: Thom M. Walker 2,588; Mark S. Fish 1,038; Scott Kohlhaas 560. Therefore, Walker is the party’s nominee.

The vote for the two Alaskan Independence members was: Vic Kohring 2,090; Zachary Kile 1,483. Kohring is now the AIP nominee.

Alaska holds a blanket primary for all qualified parties except the Republican Party. The Republican Party has its own separate semi-closed primary. Only Republicans and independents may choose the Republican primary ballot. All voters are free to choose the ballot used by the other parties.

6 Responses

  1. Alabama Independent

    Don’t know how much of a vote Kohring, the AIP nominee will receive in November. While I have admired the Alaskan Independence Party for years, they seem to do nothing. Their website is dated and mentions nothing about the candidates who were seeking it nomination. Anybody up in Alaska know why the AIP is so idle?

  2. Austin Cassidy

    Wow, McDermott’s showing was pretty nice in the House race.

    I wonder if Thom Walker will benefit from independent Bill Walker in the governor’s race.

  3. Jim Riley

    84 candidates for 40 house seats. Why do they need a primary?

  4. Interesting. I’m familiar with Kohlhaas because he oversaw our quite successful ballot access drive for LP-Wisconsin this year. Seems like a nice guy, but I’m not familiar with the controversy that lead the AKLP to unanimously endorse Mark Fish. The gist of it seems to be that he’s also done ballot access work for other parties, which is a ridiculous complaint. My understanding from the little coverage I was able to find, is that Kohlhaas is more left-leaning or radical libertarian, whereas Fish is more of a conservative-leaning candidate.

    The LP-Alaska page on Facebook is currently chattering about if Fish should continuing as a write-in. Apparently Thom Walker is complete no-show, with no signs of an active campaign and not even answering calls. While that’s unfortunate, I can’t help but that think with the vote being that conclusive, AK Libertarians likely exercised something in the spirit of “none of the above”, as is always on our Presidential nominating ballot.

  5. I’m not clear if my understanding of this blanket primary is correct.

    Any registered voter may take the blanket primary ballot (Repubilcans or unenrolleds can chose the GOP ballot). So essentially anyone may vote for any candidate on the blanket ballot, regardless of party affiliation. Yet, each party still gets a nominee.

    So, Andy Craig’s thought that “with the vote being that conclusive, AK Libertarians likely exercised something in the spirit of ‘none of the above’,” may be incorrect in that non-Libertarians may have been a part of the selection, possibly even deliberately choosing the “no-show” candidate to neutralize the LP as a credible factor in the general election.

    I can understand why the GOP has opted for its own semi-closed primary. I presume that it isn’t an option for the smaller parties.

    • Richard Winger

      The Alaska Supreme Court ruled in Green Party v State that any party has a freedom of association right to choose for itself whether it wants a blanket primary, or a semi-closed primary, or even a closed primary. The Libertarian and Alaskan Independence Parties opt for a blanket primary along with the Democrats, because both parties stay on the ballot by virtue of how many registered voters they have. It is easier to persuade voters to register into a minor party if that voter knows how he or she is registered has little impact on voting for anyone desired in the primary.

      However, parties also remain ballot-qualified if they poll 3% for Governor (in gubernatorial election years). The Libertarian Party met the vote test in 2012 (which in 2012 applied to US House), and may meet it again in 2014, in which case their registration membership is immaterial.

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