Hawaii’s Republican Party has become the latest state party to cancel a primary that would allow people to vote on GOP rivals to President Trump in 2020.
The Hawaii Republican party announced Wednesday that it cancelled its statewide Republican presidential preference poll and committed all 19 of its national convention delegates to back Trump’s reelection next year, the Star Advertiser reports.
A spokesperson for the Hawaii GOP was not immediately available for comment.
Hawaii follows Kansas, Alaska, South Carolina, Arizona and Nevada in canceling a nominating contest. The state parties have cited unnecessary costs in holding such contests when they say an overwhelming number of GOP voters in their states back Trump.
In Minnesota and Georgia, state Republican parties announced that Trump will be the only candidate on the ticket.
Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld (R) have mounted challenges against Trump. The long-shot candidates have criticized state parties in the past for blocking primary elections.
“For a President who claims to be beloved, Donald Trump and his operatives are going to extraordinary lengths to eliminate competition and avoid actually facing voters,” said Joe Hunter, a spokesperson for the Weld campaign. “Republicans everywhere, including Hawaii, deserve real choices, not the coronation of a deeply flawed incumbent who is intent on taking the Party down with him.”
Walsh called the decision a “violation of the principles of the party” and said “today’s GOP is more like a dictatorship than an organization committed to individual liberty.”
“The Republican Party apparatus has been hijacked away from its members by Trump loyalists,” Walsh added in a statement.
He also accused Hawaii GOP Chair Shirlene Ostrov of putting her loyalty with the president ahead of party members
“She has decided her choice is more important than the more than 32,000 Republicans who showed up and voted in the last election, who now don’t get a voice in their representation,” he added.
Updated at 12:37 p.m.