A group of diverse, loosely organized Utah conservatives have formed a slate of national delegate candidates in preparation for the upcoming state Republican Convention on Saturday in response, it seems, to the “Official” Ted Cruz slate of “committed” candidates. The “Stop Trump Stop Hillary” slate claims to be vetted, like the Ted Cruz candidates, and committed to electing a conservative to the White House. What is the biggest difference? It seems the Stop Trump Stop Hillary slate candidates won’t have their hands tied like the official Cruz candidates.
“History shows that a lot can happen when no one arrives at the Republican Convention with enough delegates to secure the nomination,” said Stan Lockhart, former Utah Republican Party Chair and Treasurer of Stop Trump Stop Hillary. “We need to send back National Delegates who are vetted, whose hands are not tied, and who are committed to stopping Trump and Hillary. That’s a high order, but we believe Utah will play a key role in doing it.”
Most state delegates would be surprised to find out that Presidents Lincoln, Hayes, Garfield, Harrison, and Harding were all Republican Presidents who won the White House after a contested convention. It would be great if Ted Cruz wins after the 2nd or 3rd round of voting and Trump walks away a loser. But if that doesn’t happen, the #StopTrumpStopHillary slate candidates argue that Utah needs delegates at the convention who don’t have their hands tied to one candidate – who can help ensure that a conservative is elected.
One concern delegates have is representing the will of their precinct Republicans in casting their votes. For those precincts that didn’t vote for Cruz, this argument doesn’t work because they won’t be represented anyway – their delegates HAVE to vote for Cruz according to state Republican party rules. But for those precincts that did vote for Cruz, it’s important to understand that precincts are being represented when their delegates vote for Cruz in the first rounds of the national convention. But if a convention goes multiple rounds and the Cruz campaign can’t organize a majority of national delegates, then Utah Republicans would be better represented by delegates working to ensure a conservative in the White House rather than someone like Donald Trump.
We’ll see on Saturday who state delegates trust the most. With over 400 candidates, it really comes down to little more than name recognition, slate marketing, and good ‘ol schoolyard picks.