Alaska GOP cancels its 2020 presidential primary

In a strong show of support for President Donald Trump, Alaska’s Republican Party has decided to not hold a presidential primary in 2020.

The party said in a statement that its State Central Committee decided on Saturday that holding 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.”

“As that is the case in 2020, no (primary) will be conducted for the 2020 presidential cycle,” the statement read.

Alaska joins a growing list of states that have opted to cancel their Republican presidential primaries. That list includes Kansas, South Carolina and Nevada, which scrapped their contests earlier this month.

The decisions come at a time when Trump maintains significant support within his party, but the states’ decisions have angered three Republicans who have announced campaigns to unseat the President next year.

In a Washington Post op-ed published earlier this month, former Reps. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Joe Walsh of Illinois and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld wrote that “the primary nomination process is the only opportunity for Republicans to have a voice in deciding who will represent our party” and that state GOP leaders should “let those voices be heard.”

It is not unprecedented for state Republicans or Democrats to decide not to hold a presidential primary when an incumbent is running essentially uncontested.

In South Carolina, a key early primary state, Republicans decided to nix their presidential primaries in 1984 and 2004 — when Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were up for their second terms — and state Democrats skipped their contests in 1996 and 2012, when Bill Clinton and Barack Obama ran for reelection, respectively.

CNN’s Caroline Kenny and Rebecca Buck contributed to this report.