Voters at Anchorage Christian School cast ballots in the Alaska Republican… (Erik Hill / Associated Press )
Mitt Romney was declared the victor in the Alaska Republican district conventions, the Associated Press projected, winning a state he has not visited during the presidential campaign, instead sending one of his sons on his behalf.
Romney did write an open letter to Alaska residents last weekend, promising that as president he would push through permit reforms allowing the state more of a say in tapping its resources.
"The federal government should be an ally in the effort to develop more of our nation's resources, not an obstacle," Romney wrote. "We will respect the rights Alaska gained with statehood -- including control of Alaska lands, waters, and wildlife."
The victory capped a strong Super Tuesday for the former Massachusetts governor as he also won Virginia, Vermont and Massachusetts, Idaho and, narrowly, Ohio. His rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, hung tough, however, winning in Tennessee, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich won Georgia.
Alaska has 27 delegates to the Republican convention, and will award 24 of them proportionally, based on the statewide vote. The other three delegates are the state elected party leaders.
Ron Paul was the only GOP candidate to visit the state. Romney sent one of his sons, Josh, to appear at a Republican function in Fairbanks in September.
Alaska is a staunchly Republican state. The last Democratic presidential nominee to carry the state was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
Romney, who in 2008 won 44% of the state convention delegates elected, this year had the endorsements of key state Republicans, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell. Former Gov. Sarah Palin did not offer an endorsement, but said she'd support Newt Gingrich as a way to keep the primary season going.