When former President Donald Trump pulls into town, he attracts a long and colorful train in his coattails.

An estimated 6,000 people listen to former President Donald Trump during a July 9 rally in Anchorage.

On July 9, the ongoing national Trump tour thundered through Anchorage’s Alaska Airline Center arena with a building-record of nearly 6,000 people in attendance. As promised last year, Trump came to endorse Kelly Tshibaka in her bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, and to boost Sarah Palin in her campaign to win the U.S. House seat that is now vacant after the recent death of Rep. Don Young.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy, who was also scheduled to get an endorsement from Trump, failed to show up with rumors swirling that he might get booed on stage by many conservatives who are leaning toward challengers Charlie Pierce and Christopher Kurka.

Pierce’s running mate Edie Grunwald was on hand, as was Christopher Kurka. Both candidates mingled with attendees and talked up their campaigns. Dunleavy’s social media posts didn’t even mention the state’s largest political rally of the year. Instead, he wished Alaskans a happy Alaska Flag Day.

There were, however, scores of state legislators, school board and city council members and various candidates vying for office this fall. At one point, Trump acknowledged the presence of Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson, which drew a rousing ovation.

A man listens to former President Donald Trump during a July 9 rally in Anchorage.

“They like you David,” Trump told the mayor, over the cheers. “They like you a lot David.”

In addition to endorsing Palin and Tshibaka, Trump had some harsh words for U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan who pledged to back Murkowski’s re-election campaign.

In a March 2021 ABC interview, Sullivan cited the many times Murkowski had supported his political career, and said he would return the favor even though Alaska’s Republican Party has rejected Murkowski for what they see as her blatant abandonment of core Republican values surrounding pro-life issues, oil and gas development, Supreme Court nominees, protection of gun rights, transgender politics and more.

Murkowski, who has held her U.S. Senate seat since 2002, has also been a longtime critic of the former president and was one of seven Republican senators to vote to convict him in the 2021 impeachment trial.

“How Sullivan doesn’t come out and denounce her is amazing to me,” Trump said. “Dan Sullivan should be ashamed of himself.”

A vendor stand sells Trump trinkets outside the Alaska Airlines Center arena on July 9 in Anchorage.

But public endorsements and the effort to defeat Murkowski were only part of a much larger rally that clearly hinged on Trump’s physical presence in Alaska.

People endured long road trips from all along Alaska’s sprawling road system, some driving upwards of 800 miles, round-trip, to be there. Attendees from Talkeetna, Homer, Delta Junction, Fairbanks, Mat-Su, Valdez and beyond were all there, as were thousands of Anchorage and Eagle River residents.

One couple said they spent roughly $300 in gas just to see the former president speak.

In the lead up to the event, hundreds of people milled about the Alaska Airlines Center before 6 a.m. to stand in line for a front row seat. Half a dozen tents were erected from vendors who crisscross the nation following Trump and selling MAGA hats, shirts, flags, stickers, wallets, keychains, posters and more. Food trucks were also stationed on the property, as were some 30 port-a-poddies and a jumbotron for anyone who turned up after the building was filled to capacity.

A massive crowd begins forming in the early hours of July 9 outside the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.

Standing in a line that snaked around the arena and all along Providence Drive, many people could be heard engaging in lively political discussions about election integrity concerns, the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down Roe v. Wade, the need to shore up border security and the high cost of gas and rising inflation.

But concerns over the direction President Joe Biden and Congress have taken the nation didn’t seem to dampen spirits on the mostly sunny morning. Chants of “U.S.A.,” “Let’s Go Brandon,” and others spontaneously burst from the energized assembly.

There were, however, a small handful of protesters. One man yelled into a megaphone, quoting scripture passages and denouncing Trump supporters for failing to focus on America’s spiritual needs. Several others held pro-abortion signs in protest to Trump’s Supreme Court picks who recently helped overturn Roe v. Wade and return the abortion question back to each state to decide.

As the crowd made its way to the arena, they passed by Secret Service members, Anchorage Police, Alaska State Troopers and members of Trump’s private security team. To get into the venue, attendees walked through a heavily-manned security station, equipped with metal detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs.

Once inside the building, they were greeted by more than 200 friendly volunteers who answered questions and ensured wandering attendees avoided several restricted areas.

A small group of VIPs paid upwards of $20,000 to privately meet with Trump and get their pictures taken with him.

After the first three to four thousand people were inside the arena, a series of opening speakers came to entertain and energize the crowd. Mike Lindell, CEO and founder of My Pillow, talked about the need to secure election integrity and do away with Dominion voting machines.

Sarah Palin addresses the crowd during a July 9 rally in Anchorage with former President Donald Trump.

Around 2:30 p.m. Palin walked onto the stage in black designer jeans and a sky-blue leather jacket. She was welcomed, mostly with cheers, but a few boos from those who were likely Nick Begich supporters. Begich and Palin are the two Republicans squaring off, along with Democrat Mary Peltola, in the Aug. 16 ranked-choice election to replace Rep. Young.

In signature form, Palin won over the crowd with well-timed phrases about the need to take back America and reestablish conservative values. At one point she slammed the newest member of the U.S. Supreme Court – Ketanji Brown Jackson – for refusing to answer a question during her confirmation hearing, asking her to define a woman.

“I bet there are some Alaska chicks who could help her out,” Palin said to thunderous applause.

Kelly Tshibaka was up next, telling Alaskans that is “time for a change” in the U.S. Senate. She highlighted her history of growing up in Alaska, along with how she differs with Murkowski when it comes to a litany of key issues such as supporting resource development, protecting unborn human life and others.

Kelly Tshibaka speaks during a July 9 rally in Anchorage with former President Donald Trump.

About an hour after Tshibaka left the stage, Trump entered the arena to deafening cheers. In addition to wholeheartedly endorsing Palin and Tshibaka, he made a passing remark that Alaskans should also support the conspicuously absent Gov. Dunleavy.

The former president spent much of his one-and-a-half-hour talk laying out the differences between himself and President Joe Biden. He blasted Biden for weakening the military and blundering the U.S. exit from Afghanistan by leaving behind Americans and valuable high tech military equipment. He also criticized Biden’s radical stance on abortion and LGBTQ politics, his attack on oil, gas and timber development in Alaska, and his allowing Iran to build a nuclear weapon. Trump also pointed out Biden’s inability to avert a Russian conflict in Ukraine.

He highlighted the fact that the economy has suffered under high gas prices and inflation levels not seen in 40 years.

But Trump also regaled the audience with personal stories of how he witnessed U.S. pilots land Air Force One under the cloak of darkness in Iraq, and he recalled a conversation he had with a general on how to finally destroy ISIS.

Former President Donald Trump brings a young man up on the stage to praise his unique shirt during the July 9 rally in Anchorage. Trump asked for the shirt so he could wear it in his next rally.

Trump concluded on a positive note, telling the crowd that “soon we will have greatness again.”

“It was hardworking patriots like you who built this country, and it is hard working patriots like you who are going to save our country,” he said. “We will stand up to the radical left lunatics and the RINOs, and we will fight for America like no one has fought before.”

He reiterated that Alaska must remove Murkowski from the U.S. Senate and then told the audience that there are no obstacles America cannot overcome.

“There is no challenge we cannot meet, there is no victory we cannot have,” he said. “We will not bend. We will not break. We will not yield – ever, ever, ever.”

He assured the crowd that the enemies of freedom, and those who seek to weaken the police, the military, religious freedoms, parental rights and protections for the unborn do not stand a chance.

“Because we are Americans and Americans kneel to God and God alone,” he said. “This incredible journey that we are on has only just begun and it is time to talk about greatness for our country again.”

“Thank you, Alaska,” Trump concluded. “God bless you all.”

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Trump train thunders into Alaska for a record-breaking rally

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • LJ says:

    I have hope for our country again . God Bless Donald Trump and all the people of Alaska .

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    Make American Great Again
    What an awesome night for Alaska.
    Standing tall Mike nowhere to be found. Vote Charlie Peirce.

  • Rebecca L Hinsberger says:

    What a great speech by President Trump! He has the ability to reinspire HOPE for our nation. Gov. Dunleavey wasn’t there. I’m voting for Christopher Kurka for governor! He is prolife and unstoppable, smart, full of energy and willing to do what it takes to return Alaska to secure voting ( no machines, no rank choice), stop baby killing and its funding ( he used to be head of Alaska Right to Life), make oil and gas development possible , reign in the fat budget that expands big government, protect our school children from inappropriate sexual education, and so much more…

  • DoneWithIt says:

    Do Nothing Dunleavy.
    RINO Begich.
    Palin will vote MAGA – get over her “circus” – it’s like not voting for Trump because he sends mean tweets.

  • Evan S Singh says:

    I wanted to see a bit more humility from him and less snarkiness and smirking. I was hoping for complete sentences and something other than grievances. Glad I didn’t pay $250 for that. But he did say some nice things about himself and people.

  • Greg in Homer says:

    I was there. It was unbelievable. The reception that President Trump received topped any that I have ever experienced before. In this facility, it was standing room only, with the crowd hanging on every word the former President said. Even given a lefty city like Anchorage, Biden wouldn’t be able to fill the 4th Avenue theater, let alone an Arena the size of the Alaska Airlines Center. There is absolutely no way that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election to a senile buffoon like Joe Biden.

  • Andy says:

    Best president ever.

    • Gunter Thompson says:

      He has been the best at being a gangster mob boss, lying when the truth would serve him better, and nearly best at overthrowing American governance.

  • Plato's Spawn says:

    He really set the trap for Dunleavy. Now Bunker Mike is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    The pastor who led the convocation prayed for our country, Palin, Tshibaka, and no mention of Mikey j dunleavy! Sorry pacarro, your best buddy wasn’t prayed for and was barely mentioned in the biggest event in Alaska history! Take note also of the signs that were given out to those who sat behind Trump. Can you find even one with dunleavy’s name? NOPE!!! The DOPE got no recognition!!!
    We want CHARLIE!!!!!!!

  • brandon says:

    I have hope for our country.. but also understand it is called the world stage for a reason.
    Keep your wits about you and question everything. . .
    God bless America.