Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 4:58 PM on Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Romney wins Alaska GOP's poll; Santorum takes lower peninsula

By Becky Bohrer
The Associated Press

JUNEAU — Mitt Romney won the Alaska GOP's presidential preference poll Tuesday, edging out Rick Santorum in a race Romney won handily four years ago.

With 96 percent of the vote in, Romney had 4,225 votes, or 33 percent; Santorum had 3,762 votes, or 29 percent. Ron Paul finished third, matching his finish in 2008. Newt Gingrich placed fourth.

In District 30, Homer, Anchor Point, Ninilchik and Kasilof voted for Santorum over Romney, with 271 votes for Santorum and 214 for Romney out of 741 votes cast. Paul finished third with 136 votes and Gingrich fourth with 117 votes, with three undeclared votes. A steady stream of Republicans visited the polling place at Homer Christian Community Church.

Twenty-four delegates were up for grabs in Tuesday's contest, with allocation in proportion to the candidate's share of the popular vote. The state Republican party reported that Romney won eight delegates, Santorum, seven; Paul, six; and Gingrich, three.

Only registered Republicans, or Alaskans who registered as Republicans on site, were allowed to participate.

Alaska Republicans crowded polling places to make their choice.

In Anchorage, one polling place had lines before the polls opened at 4 p.m., and no place to park, even on side streets.

Voters in the Capital City began showing up as soon as the polling place at the Juneau Yacht Club opened.

Attorney Joe Geldhof, 60, of Juneau, was poll watching for Romney's campaign. He said Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, is serious, and would probably be a better president than he is a candidate.

"He excites nobody, but I think he has administrative experience," Geldhof said.

Barbara Fiscus, 44, cast her vote for Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, at the Juneau Yacht Club.

Fiscus, a stay-at-home Juneau mother who homeschools her children, said a number of issues are important to her, from the economy to moral issues. When picking a candidate, she said it came down to whom she considered the most conservative.

"I just think it's such an important vote," she said. "I wanted to make sure my conservative voice was heard."

Alaska was one of 10 states holding contests Tuesday. In addition to the 24 delegates that were being awarded based on Tuesday's vote, Alaska has three other delegates — state party leaders who will attend the national convention as unpledged — bringing Alaska's overall delegate total to 27.

Alaska does not have presidential primaries.