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The Alaskan Independence Party is a political party in the U.S. state of Alaskamarker that advocates an in-state referendum which includes the option of Alaska becoming an independent nation. The party also advocates positions similar to those of the Constitution Party and Libertarian Party, supporting gun rights, privatization, home schooling, and limited government.

It has been alleged that some of its members in the past have also proposed that the state explore the possibility of joining Canadamarker. Some other members have expressed opposition to joining Canada in its present form but are open to the possibility of joining an independent Western Canadian state including the Yukonmarker and Northwest Territoriesmarker. Neither of these scenarios have ever formed any part of the party's platform.

At the national level, the party is affiliated with the Constitution Party.

History

The Alaskan Independence Party was originally founded with the goal of obtaining for Alaskans the right to vote on statehood. Referring to Alaska's 1959 admission to the union, the AIP charter states: "The Alaskan Independence Party's goal is the vote we were entitled to in 1958, one choice from among the following four choices:

  1. Remain a Territory.
  2. Become a separate and Independent Nation.
  3. Accept Commonwealth status.
  4. Become a State.


The call for this vote is in furtherance of the dream of the Alaskan Independence Party's founding father, Joe Vogler, which was for Alaskans to achieve independence under a minimal government, fully responsive to the people, promoting a peaceful and lawful means of resolving differences."

Since its founding, the AIP has radically changed with respect to the issue of secession. At present, it does not support secession, though, at its founding, it did. In 1973 Joe Vogler began arguing about the validity of the Alaskan statehood vote. Early in that year, he began circulating a petition seeking support for secession of Alaskamarker from the United Statesmarker. Alaska magazine published a piece at that time in which Vogler claimed to have gathered 25,000 signatures in 3 weeks.

Vogler has been quoted as stating "I'm an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

During the 1970s, Vogler founded Alaskans for Independence to actively pursue secession for Alaska from the United Statesmarker. In 1984, he founded the AIP to explore whether the 1958 vote by Alaskans authorizing statehood was legal.

Vogler would serve as the AIP's standard-bearer for most of the party's first two decades. He ran for governor in 1974, with Wayne Peppler as his running mate. Jay Hammond was elected over incumbent governor William Egan, with Vogler trailing far behind. Typical political discussion of the day contended that Vogler was a "spoiler," and that the result would have been different had he not been in the race. However, this campaign opened up the doors for non-major party candidates to run for major offices in Alaska, and generally this accusation is leveled during every election cycle.

Vogler's running mate in 1986 was Al Rowe, a Fairbanks resident and former Alaska State Trooper. Rowe took out a series of newspaper ads, fashioning himself in the image of Sheriff Buford Pusser. These ads were a major attention getter during the race. Between Rowe's ads and the turmoil existing in the Republican Party over the nomination of Arliss Sturgulewski, the AIP gained 5.2 percent of the vote, becoming a recognized party in Alaska for the first time.

Since then, AIP candidates have disapproved of initiating a state-wide vote revisiting the status of Alaskan statehood. In 1990, Walter Joseph Hickel, a former Republican, won the election for governor as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, along with Jack Coghill as his running mate. This was the only time since Alaska joined the union that a third-party candidate has been elected governor. Hickel refused a vote on secession called on by a fringe group within the AIP loyal to Vogler's original vision. He rejoined the Republican Party in 1994, with eight months remaining in his term.

The party did not get involved in presidential elections until 1992, when it endorsed Howard Phillips, the candidate of the U.S. Taxpayers Party (now the Constitution Party). The AIP is listed as an affiliate of the Constitution Party on the latter party's website.

Registered members

As of May 2009 the party had 13,119 registered members, making it the state's third largest; the Republicans had 124,892 members and the Democrats had 75,047.

Todd Palin association

On September 2, 2008, the Associated Press reported that the Alaska Division of Elections said that Todd Palin had registered as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party in 1995 until 2002.

His wife, Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a member of the Republican Party since 1982, delivered a taped welcome message as Governor to the party's convention.

2006 ballot initiative

In 2006, members of the AIP collected the one hundred signatures needed to place on the fall ballot an initiative calling for Alaska to secede from the union or, if that was found not to be legally possible, directing the state to work to make secession legal. However, in the case of Kohlhaas v. State (11/17/2006) sp-6072, 147 P3d 714, the State Supreme Court ruled any attempt at secession to be unconstitutional and the initiative was not approved to appear on the fall ballot.

Presidential nominees



See also



References

  1. Constitution Party Alaska page.
  2. Introduction, Alaskan Independence Party, at archive.org (January 16, 2008).
  3. http://www.elections.alaska.gov/statistics/regbyprty5-3-09.html
  4. Kohlhaas v. State (11/17/2006), touchngo.com, retrieved October 11, 2008


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