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Alaskan Independence Party convenes in Soldotna Saturday

Sports complex
Sabine Poux
/
KDLL
The convention is between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex.

Officials from the state’s Republican party are meeting in Fairbanks this week for their annual convention.

And there’s another, smaller convention happening in Soldotna. The Alaskan Independence Party is meeting at the Soldotna Sports Complex Saturday to hear from 2022 candidates, discuss its platform and elect new officers.

The Alaskan Independence Party is one of three recognized political parties in Alaska, and it touts itself as an alternative to the Republican party.

The party shares a lot of its platform with the mainstream right. In a recent guest column for conservative blog Must Read Alaska, party chair Bob Bird, of Nikiski, characterized the party as “pro-gun, pro-family, pro-constitution and pro-life.”

But Bird said at the party’s core is the belief that the vote for Alaska statehood in 1958 was conducted improperly. The party was founded by secessionist Joe Vogler in the 1970s. Bird and other followers believe the statehood vote didn’t include sufficient options for voters and that it should be redone today.

The last party convention in Wasilla in 2020 gathered around 20 members, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The party also held a convention in 2010 in Kenai.

Conservative candidate for Alaska Governor Republican Christopher Kurka is scheduled to speak Saturday, according to the convention agenda. The agenda also says there will be video messages from gubernatorial candidate and Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce as well as incumbent Gov. Mike Dunleavy, both of whom were endorsed by the Alaska GOP this week. Kelly Tshibaka, who’s running for the U.S. Senate seat, currently held by incumbent Lisa Murkowski, is also scheduled for a video message.

As of early this month, there were nearly 18,725 voters registered with the party statewide, according to data from the Alaska Division of Elections. That’s compared with 142,170 registered Republicans and 77,209 registered Democrats.

But party registration matters less under the new election system. All voters will receive the same primary ballot this election, regardless of party affiliation, and will pick their top one candidate.

Sabine Poux is the news director at KDLL. Originally from New York, she's lived and reported in Argentina and Vermont, where she fell in love with local news. She covers all things central peninsula but is especially interested in stories related to energy and fishing. She'd love to hear your ideas at spoux@kdll.org.