Hawaii GOP Cancels Primary, Commits Delegates to Trump

The Hawaii GOP canceled its 2020 primary, committing its 19 delegates to President Donald Trump.

“Hawaii Republicans across the state are united in their support of President Trump and look forward to his second four-year term,” Hawaii GOP Party Chair Shirlene Ostrov said in a statement.

“President Trump’s economic achievements have benefitted citizens across the country and in Hawaii, despite corrupt leadership of state Democrats who have negligently accrued billions in unfunded pension liabilities and deceptively implemented a grossly failed rail project destined to raise property taxes out-of-sight.

Trump Campaign Chairman Al Frenzel said that enthusiasm for Trump has reinvigorated party membership and said Hawaiians who don’t like what state Democrat leadership has done should consider voting for Trump and other Republicans in 2020, according to a press release from the Hawaii GOP.

Hawaii is the first state to officially cancel its presidential preference vote, the state party said. The preference vote is often used by state parties for the primary. It is a direct vote for a specific candidate.

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Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov. 15, 2011. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Republican presidential candidate Joe Walsh, a former Congressman, called the decision one “to disenfranchise Republican voters in 2020, all to protect their King.”

“I know impeachment is a big story, but canceling elections is a big story too,” he said.

Five Republican state organizations have already canceled primaries: Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Nevada, and South Carolina.

Conducting a primary “would serve no useful purpose when we have an incumbent Republican president, such as President Trump, running for the Republican nomination for President,” the Alaska Republican Party said earlier this year.

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President Donald Trump in London on Dec. 3, 2019. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Republican primaries will still take place in Minnesota and Georgia but Trump will be the only candidate on the ticket.

“President Trump is extremely popular in Minnesota and my job as Chairwoman is to make sure we deliver our 10 electoral votes to the President on November 3, 2020,” Minnesota Republican Party Chair Jennifer Carnahan said in a written statement in October.

State law gives the party the power to keep candidates off the ballot and doesn’t allow changes after the submission of a name or names.

Trump’s approval rating among Republicans is around 90 percent and his two challengers, Walsh and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, have struggled to gain traction.

A third challenger, former South Carolina Gov. and lawmaker Mark Sanford dropped out of the race last month. He blamed the impeachment inquiry against Trump for overshadowing primary challengers to the president.

 

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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