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AP Decision Notes: What to expect in the Alaska and Wyoming Democratic presidential contests

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will face Democratic voters this Saturday in a pair of nominating contests in Alaska and Wyoming that are unlikely to produce any surprises.

In Wyoming, Democrats will award 13 delegates using a presidential preference vote held at caucuses in each of the state’s 23 counties. Seven names will appear on the ballot, but Biden is the only major candidate competing for votes. Caucusgoers will have the option to vote for “Uncommitted,” which has been used in some other states to register a protest vote against the sitting president.

In Alaska, 15 delegates are at stake in Saturday’s party-run primary, but the event won’t resemble any other presidential nominating contest held so far this year. Democratic voters will convene in meetings in each of Alaska’s 40 state House districts and indicate their support for Biden in a voice vote. Most of the district meetings will be held virtually by video conference, although participants in Fairbanks and Juneau have the additional option of attending and voting in person. State party officials had originally planned to hold a vote-by-mail primary to conclude on April 6, but they revamped their plans after U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota suspended his campaign, leaving Biden the only remaining candidate to qualify for the Alaska ballot. Rather than cancel the primary as Florida and Delaware did last month, the party changed the event to a simple voice vote and pushed it back a week to coincide with the state House district caucuses. Doing so reduced the cost of the primary from $450,000 to $10,000, according to the state party chairman.

Biden has already surpassed the number of delegates he’ll need to officially claim the nomination at the convention this summer.

Alaska Republicans held presidential caucuses on Super Tuesday in March. Wyoming Republicans will complete their process of awarding presidential delegates next week at their state convention.

In 2020, Biden won the Alaska primary, 55% to 45%, and the Wyoming caucuses, 72% to 28%, over U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Both events were held shortly after Sanders suspended his campaign but before Biden unofficially clinched the nomination. Sanders carried both states in the 2016 primaries against Hillary Clinton.

Both Alaska and Wyoming vote reliably Republican in presidential general elections. The last Democratic presidential candidate to win either state was President Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

DECISION NOTES

In Wyoming, Biden is the favorite in the caucuses as he faces no major challengers on the ballot. The first indication that he is winning statewide on a level consistent with the overwhelming margins seen in most other contests held this year may be sufficient to determine the statewide winners.

In Alaska, Biden is the only eligible candidate. Determining the winner will be a matter of waiting for the state party to announce when the outcome is official.

Here are the Saturday contests at a glance:

DELEGATES AT STAKE ON SATURDAY

Democrats: 28 (Alaska 15, Wyoming 13)

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CONTESTS (2)

PARTY-RUN EVENTS (2): Alaska primary, Wyoming caucuses

SATURDAY TIMELINE

11 a.m. EDT: First county caucus begins in Wyoming

12:15 p.m. EDT: Most county caucuses begin in Wyoming

1 p.m. EDT: Final county caucus begins in Wyoming

2 p.m. EDT: Voice vote session convenes in 16 of 40 Alaska districts

4 p.m. EDT: Voice vote session convenes in 16 of 40 Alaska districts

6 p.m. EDT: Voice vote session convenes in 8 of 40 Alaska districts

7 p.m. EDT: Deadline to submit Wyoming caucus results to state party

11 p.m. EDT: Final Alaska results expected

ALASKA

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden is the only candidate eligible to receive votes. 15 delegates are at stake.

WHO CAN VOTE: Only registered Democrats may participate in the party-run primary.

RESULTS EXPECTED: The voice vote sessions will be held at different times throughout the day, depending on the location of the district. The state party chairman is expected to announce the final result no later than 11 p.m. EDT.

WYOMING

PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY (D): Biden, Jason Palmer, Dean Phillips, Marianne Williamson, “Uncommitted” and three others. 13 delegates are at stake.

WHO CAN VOTE: Only Democrats who registered by Tuesday may participate in Saturday’s Democratic caucuses. Caucusgoers must live in the county to participate in that county’s caucus.

RESULTS EXPECTED: Caucus start times vary by county, but caucus officials have until 7 p.m. EDT to report their results to the state party.

UNCOMMITTED ON THE BALLOT

Wyoming

ARE WE THERE YET?

As of Saturday, there will be 128 days until the Democratic National Convention in Chicago and 206 days until the November general election.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.

Robert Yoon, The Associated Press



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