In the aftermath of the Utah GOP’s 2018 state convention, divisions remain

by John English

The run-up to this convention was the nastiest I’ve ever seen it, and it had nothing to do with the candidates. It was all about the proposals of amendments. The proposals to cut back on the control of the State Central Committee, and the proposals to cut back on the control of the Chair. Keep Our Caucus, the caucus-only pro-delegate anti-SB54 group, morphed into Keep My Voice, more of a caucus-only pro-SCC anti-Rob Anderson group. There was even a flyer attacking the Chair a few days before the convention. I’ve never seen that before.

The convention didn’t start until 11:00 am. This is so people who live 5 hours away can get there.

Anderson’s stroke of genius was having the very experienced Enid Mickelsen be the chairperson of the Call To Order portion of the night. He knew a good chunk of delegates there considered him an enemy. Mickelsen knew how unruly it could get and started off like a high school principal. There would be no shouting. There will be order.

Hours were spent debating over minutiae. It happens every time but this one felt worse. Point of order, call to question, a point of inquiry, with much fighting over which of the proposals the delegates would actually get to vote on. People coaching others what to say on the mic to keep things delayed. The crowd initially favored the pro-SCC side, but as the afternoon wore on, they started to resist the tactics being used. One motion to move the debate to the end was well-received, and when it was proposed we just not hear any of the proposed amendments, it was even more well-received. KMV even sent a mass text during this encouraging others to support not listening to any of the amendments today.

It was after 4:00 pm before we finally got to the most important part of the convention – hearing from and voting on the candidates.

It should also be said that at least an hour was lost working on electronic issues with the clicker-voting we used, but I would say overall it still took a lot less time had we gone the paper ballot route.

CD1 – Rob Bishop won with ease.
CD2 – Chris Stewart won with ease.
CD3 – John Curtis couldn’t quite put away SCC member Chris Herrod, who managed to force a primary after getting 41% of the delegate vote.
CD4 – Mia Love ran unopposed.

US Senate – There were 12 candidates, and 11 showed up to give their five-minute speeches.

Stoney Fonua – “Aloha!” At one point he had us sing “What a wonderful world.”

Jeremy Friedbaum – Loud-shirt guy decided to go the prop-comedy route. “Oh look, a carpetbag!” Delegates booed him out of the building when it became clear his entire five minutes was going to be attacking Mitt with terrible humor. Anything in the rules that can prevent him of ever running as a Republican again?

Sam Parker – Called upon us to be the next generation of Patrick Henrys and Paul Reveres.

Abe Lincoln Brian Jenkins – Read his speech from old-timey parchment.

Timothy Jiminez – Joked about being a foot shorter than Abe, then talked about how tired he was. Tired of politicians not keeping their promises, etc.

Larry Meyers – Made clear he’s in the pro-Trump “Build a wall” camp.

Mitt Romney – You know who he is. Said he’s heard people compare the race to David & Goliath, but he said “none of us are David, for David was anointed by God” and “Washington D.C. is Goliath.”

Alicia Colvin – Said support for SB54/Count My Vote only gets stronger when the delegates demonstrate they’re out of touch with primary voters.

Josh Lee – I was too distracted by the woman in a miniskirt introducing him as “a mother.”

Mike Kennedy – Had a whole David & Goliath speech prepared, which lost some of its power from Mitt already poking holes in it. Nevertheless, he had the loudest ovation of any candidate when he was done.

Loy Brunson – Was there to shill for some new reality show he’s working on.

Romney and Kennedy won about 87% of all votes in the first round, so they were the final two in the second round. Most of those stragglers went to Kennedy. Kennedy 51%, Romney 49%.

The in-fighting will continue. The divisions are still drawn. The negative campaign against “those people” in the Utah Republican party will continue, but at least we got to go home before Sunday morning.

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