Will Romney play in Pago Pago?

The AP reports on today’s Caucus in American Samoa: What do you get when 50 or so Republicans gather in a restaurant-bar? In American Samoa, you get a presidential caucus. The U.S. territory, located about 2,300 miles south of Hawaii, gets its chance Tuesday to choose delegates to the Republican National Convention and vote on ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images

The AP reports on today's Caucus in American Samoa:

The AP reports on today’s Caucus in American Samoa:

What do you get when 50 or so Republicans gather in a restaurant-bar? In American Samoa, you get a presidential caucus.

The U.S. territory, located about 2,300 miles south of Hawaii, gets its chance Tuesday to choose delegates to the Republican National Convention and vote on a presidential candidate. It’s a decidedly local affair.

Republicans will meet at Toa Bar & Grill.

The six delegates picked at the caucus will join three American Samoa “superdelegates” at the convention.

So roughly one delegate for every 5 voters — not too shabby. (For what it’s worth, Washington D.C.’s 30,000 registered Republicans have to make do with 19 delegates.)

Mitt Romney is likely to win today among Samoa’s few registered Republicans. (For one thing 25 percent of Samoans are Mormon.)

The territorial contests are a weird quirk of the U.S. primary system. Residents of these territories don’t get to vote in November’s presidential election, but both parties allow them to vote in primaries.

The territorial contests generally don’t get much attention unless the primary is close, as it was four years ago when both Bill and Hillary Clinton campaigned in Puerto Rico. The "island caucus" as a whole, as David Cohen points out,  is worth 59 delegates, more than Virginia or Missouri.

Romney appears likely to sweep the contests this year, even dispatching his son Matt to campaign in Northern Mariana and Guam.  (Delegate hungry Rick Santorum may have forgotten about Guam’s 9 votes when joked about exiling liberal judges there.) Romney took both those territories as well as most of the delegates from the U.S. Virgin Islands, despite the fact that Ron Paul got more votes there. (It’s complicated.)

Puerto Rico, where Romney is also favored, votes this Sunday. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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