Snapshot of GOP Caucus Night #OR28

Matthew Bowler 2014 GOP Caucus Orem 47
The Republican Party caucus in Orem Precinct 47. Photo by Matthew Bowler.

I attended the GOP caucus for Orem Precinct 28 – the Fighting 28th! – on the evening of March 20. I preregistered online and also checked the boxes of the offices for which I planned to run. I was able to give my printout and show my driver’s license to the lady in charge of last names E-L. She’s known me for over ten years, but they still made sure everyone had their ID.

We had the gymnasium of Orem Elementary. In 2012, we’d been assigned an arts & crafts room at the high school, but we had 140 people show up, almost triple our 2010 numbers. This was the Orrin Hatch effect. He did a great job of getting people excited to attend caucus, and back then the only thing the people seemed to care about from their delegates, at least in my precinct, was the promise that they’d support Hatch.

We still had close to 90 people come this time, which I consider a success.

The Precinct Chair called to order the meeting a few minutes after 7:00pm. After reading the agenda, the rules we’d be following, he read the entire Utah County Republican Platform. There was a lot of process to wade through. The nomination process started around 7:45pm. Candace Salima and I had preregistered to run for Precinct Chair, and no other nominations were made. Our current Chair decided to only run as a delegate in this cycle.

Jennifer Nielson Scott WJ064 caucus meeting at West Jordan High 2014
The Republican Party caucus meeting of West Jordan Precinct 64 at West Jordan High. Photo by Jennifer Scott

We made our opening statements and spent about ten minutes answering audience questions. I liked this aspect of the night best, a chance to see what was on people’s minds and be able to share beliefs and information.  We were able to share our thoughts on Count My Vote, the downfall of the Swallow/Powers political machine, and the upcoming race between Dana Layton and Brad Daw. When they added up the votes, they said it was a tie, but the current Chair realized he hadn’t voted. So I won the election as the new Precinct Chair by one vote. (I’m glad my wife decided to attend with me this time around.) ((I’m also glad I didn’t open my remarks with a joke like “Our current Chair is a fiendish scoundrel!”))

Candace won the Vice-Chair position, and another man ran for Secretary/Treasurer unopposed on a “if no one else wants it” platform. The delegate offices were more popular. We had eight run for county delegate and eight run for state delegate. With that many people, answers were limited to one minute each, and while I’m glad we weren’t there until midnight (which happened in 2012), I just hope the voters got the information they wanted.

Utah GOP Chair James Evans recently made a plea for more women delegates, and he’d asked for a paragraph to be read at caucus about encouraging more women voters. I don’t remember that being read last night, but two of our four state delegates and three of our five county delegates are women.

We had it wrapped up around 9:30pm.

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