Live Blogging from the Utah State Republican Convention

Note: My apologies to readers.  I have gone to Part 2 of live blogging at the Republican Convention, and I FORGOT TO TELL YOU.  Sorry!!  But Check it out by clicking here.  

Also, check out my after-convention wrap-up by clicking here.

It cost me 14.95 to report to you from the Salt Palace Convention Center, so I hope someone finds this interesting!  If you wanted to know what happens at a political convention, you've come to the right place. While you're at it--see if you can notice my bias.  ;-)

7:30 AM - En route to the northwest side of the Salt Palace, I bumped into a somewhat familiar face.  It turned out to be Tim deChristopher, a delegate to the Utah Democrat Convention, which happens to be on the southeast side of the Salt Palace. [We've been instructed--since, I suppose, we're rival gangs--to not cross the boundary line between rival conventions. ;-) ]  Mr. deChristopher was a very pleasant individual, and in our 5-minute conversation, I found that we had MUCH more in common than I would have imagined.  He and I agreed that the problem with politics in both major parties is the co-optation of both by major corporations and special interests.  I asked him what he thought about the Tea Party movement, and he expressed that he was impressed with what the grassroots is trying to accomplish, but hoped that it didn't get taken over by the special interests..  Tim was sporting a Claudia Wright t-shirt and several of Claudia's signs.

7:40 AM - Walking toward the entrance of the convention center, I passed a handful of people with "Honk if you support Bennett" signs.  Cars streamed past.  Finally, one car honked.  "Yes!" exclaimed one sign holder. "We finally got one!!"

7:45 PM - It took five minutes to walk the gaunlet of signs and flyer holders to get to the credentialing floor.  The credentialling process went very smoothly. I ran into Shane Schultheis who had an information booth from George Wythe University, as well as Bradley Reneer, who was asked by the Mike Lee campaign to be its poll watcher when the ballots are counted later today.  I saw many delegates wearing "I Like Mike [Lee]" shirts.  I also saw quite a few Bennett t-shirts, but mostly from non-delegate volunteers.

8:10 AM In our Legislative District 67 caucus meeting, Richard Behling and Patrick Painter, who are running for the Utah House of Representatives, were nominated in room 255-D of the convention center. Painter, the incumbent, had so many nominators speak for him that he had about 10 seconds at the end of his 5-minute speaking period to say thank you and happy mother's day to all the mothers.

8:19 AM Taylor Oldroyd, chair of our Legislative District Caucus meeting, announces that one of the delegates has just arrived late. He recommended that she be allowed to vote. A motion was made, and it was quickly seconded.  Mr. Oldroyd asked for a voice vote, and the ayes were unanimous in favor of letting the late-arriving delegate vote.  One other delegate lost their Legislative District credentials, but he was able to find them still sitting on the counter in the men's restroom. At any rate, each delegate's credential name badge is marked by a volunter poll watcher as they drop their ballot into the ballot box, so he would have been able to get a new ballot anyway.

8:29 AM One delegate just arrived, thinking that the caucus meeting started at 8:30.  Unfortunately, all the votes had already been collected and the ballot box taken to the vote counters.  He had arrived at the convention at 7 AM, and he thought he had plenty of time to get to the caucus meeting.  Bummer.

8:39 AM Our legistlative district was the first to have completed voting, so the official vote counters were able to tally up our votes first.  The results: 53 of 58 delegates arrived for the voting.  Richard Behling received 15 of the 53 votes.  Patrick Painter received 38.  With Patrick Painter receiving 71.7% of the vote, the will not be a republican primary in June for this office. Rather, Painter will represent the Republican Party for Legislative District 67 in the General Election in November.

9:01 AM - I sat visiting with fellow delegates about various and sundry issues (how some Emma Smith's descendants are not allowed to talk of LDS prophet Joseph Smith (is this true?), sons who are on LDS missions, sons who are friends with each other, misconceptions about Mormons from people living outside of Utah, a visit with a state senator who had a surprisingly easy time avoiding a primary, etc.).  We still have nearly an hour before the main convention begins.  I guess I better get to the convention hall so that I can find a good seat!

9:10 AM - You would not believe the signage around here!  Well, maybe you would.  There must be hundreds of thousands (at least tens of thousands) of dollars spent on the signs.  If I had a better camera, I'd take a picture of them for you.  Maybe I'll try anyway.  And it's funny that the candidates are still handing out the exact same flyers that they already sent us in the mail at least 5 times. I wonder how many people actually arrive at the convention not sure of who they'll vote for.  I guess every campaign staffer has to assume that everyone does NOT know who they're going to vote for--except for people like me, who are wearing their "I Like Mike" t-shirts with pride!

9:22 AM - I met Keith, a state delegate from Carbon County, who voted for Patrick Painter in the "Leg." (pronounced "ledge") District 67 race.  (I actually voted for Richard Behling, but it's a great situation when your choice is between two completely qualified candidates.)  Keith and I swapped military stories, and I explained to him and Patrick Painter why I support Mike Lee because he supports the troops (see 9:47 AM entry, below).  Keith was in US Army Basic Training on the day that John F Kennedy blockaded Cuba during the missile crisis.  All of the basic trainees that day--Keith having been there less than a month--were told that in the next day or two their training would be over and that they would be going into combat, and that many of them would likely not come back alive.  My hat is off to my new friend Keith. He said that there were no atheists in his barracks that night.

9:47 AM - I just met a state delegate who moved to Utah from the San Francisco Bay Area about six months ago.  His name is Adam.  He and I got visiting about why he supports Mike Lee for Senate.  You can find the detailed analysis on his blog here, but the mutual feeling I have with Adam is that Tim burned his "Bridge"water when he jumped on the Bennett bandwagon by criticizing Lee's comments about Afghanistan.  Here's what I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago.

9:56 AM - The convention is about to start.  Delegates sit with their counties on the gigantic convention floor. The Salt Lake people must have assigned the seating, because us Utah Countyers are banished to the outer darkness (furthest reaches) of the convention center floor (see picture, above right).  I guess I'll have to put on my glasses.  ;-)

10:05 AM - A minister from another faith gave a rousing prayer asking for the blessings of liberty to be on America and her elected leaders. There was a smattering of snickers when he asked for God's direction to be on President Obama because he was most in need of it, but I don't think he meant it in a derogatory way.  I was touched as the VFW presented the flag ceremony, and I was emotionally effected when Attorney General Mark Shurtleff reminded us that Veterans are authorized to salute the U.S. flag during the Pledge of Allegiance, even if they are in civilian clothes.  A better and more stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner have I NEVER heard than the one that was sung this morning.

10: 17 AM - Buckle up, campers!  It's time for business.  3,098 delegates out of the the 3,500 who should be here have been credentialed (see picture, right), for a total of 88.5%

10:25 AM - Whew!  We dodged a bullet.  A challenge had been made to the "automatic delegate" process that some counties employ (wherein staff workers, legislative chairs, etc.) are given delegate status).  Although I disagree with what my county (Utah County) does in this regard, this is NOT an issue for the state convention.

10:30 AM - Credentialing is now closed.  The final delegate count will be forthcoming.

10:32 AM - For those of us who had booing in our hearts, State Chair Dave Hansen had presented on the big screen pictures of  Nancy Pelosi, President Obama, and Harry Reid.  We booed mightily and got that out of our system, so that--hopefully--there will be no booing during the hotly contested Senate race.  ;-)

10:33 AM - State Chair Hansen declares support for caucus/convention/delegate system. Delegates spend the time to study the issues.  I agree.  First-time delegates were asked to stand--there were a lot.  Probably close to have of the delegates are having their first State Convention experience.

10:35 AM - June 22nd will be the day for the Republican primarry election for those races that go to a primary (where no delegate gets 60% or more of the vote).

10:36 AM - We're ahead of schedule, but we probably won't finish the convention business by noon.  ;-)  I just learned last night that the first round of voting, according to the Utah republican party convention, reduces the number of remaining candidates to 3. That means that of the big 4--Eagar, Bennett, Lee, and Bridgewater--one will be out of the race.  There are SO many ways that that could fall out.  Stay tuned!

10:40 AM - Tim Bridgewater cites LDS Mission experience, attendance at BYU, self-made businessman, and work in Reagan Administration as his leadership skills.  "We are missing the voice of the businessman." "We have to secure our borders."  "America will get back on track, but only if the government gets out of the way." "178 days away from taking back congress and retiring Harry Reid!" "A constitutionalist who is also a capitalist." "Our rights do not come from the federal government. They come from God."

10:47 - Woooo! The pretty boy has arrived with an AWESOME tan!  Mitt Romney didn't really get too much more than a smattering of applause. He realizes that Bennett faces an uphill climb. We need Bennett, he says, because of the "sweep of liberal menace".  Hmmmm...  How about the establishment menace, including Bob Bennett.  Bennett got substantially less applause than Bridgewater.  Far too late, Bennett claims support for Audit the Fed bill.

10:54 AM - Jeremy Friedbaum gives a somewhat rousing speech, but he's not Senate material. Uses excellent example of moral wrong of re-electing Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.  For this same reason, we should not return Bennett to Senate. Friedbaum went on hunger strike for 39.5 days before being allowed to participate in Republican debates.  Great applause when calling for mandatory drug testing for all members of Congress.

11:00 AM - My laptop battery is gasping.  I guess I'll sit against the wall for an hour while it recharges.

11:01 AM - Leonard Fabiano speaks. Great man who served in US Air Force in Korean War. Served two missions for LDS Church in Italy. Has been businessman since 1968.  Has accepted no campaign donations, and will not accept salary if he is elected to the Senate. Thinks that Congress should not have retirement benefits. We cannot maintain liberty if we are immoral. The flag stands for the Constitution.

11:08 AM - Merrill Cook speaks. He notified Congress that Freddie and Fannie were belly up and that the housing crisis was upon us.  Merill is a great man, but he's in the wrong place at the wrong time. He holds Federal Reserve responsible for the economic problem.  That Wall Street is too big to fail is without substance. Reminded Bennett that he should have been with Ron Paul against the TARP bailout, and that there was no reason to prop up Wall Street.  It was a total scam. We should not stand by while government takes more and more from us.

11:15 AM - David Chiu speaks.  Another great man whom I hope doesn't fracture the conservative vote here at the convention. Although now he is schmoozing up to Mitt Romney and dropping Sarah Palin's name.  Eeewww!!! Chiu pays tribute to all other candidates, including Bennett's years of service.

I'm hungry...

11:23 AM - And now...the moment you've all been waiting for!  Ladies and gentlemen, hopefully the next Senator from the State of Utah--Mike Lee!!!  And the most applause I've heard so far!!!  Tells inspiring story George Washington and his vision of the providence of America. Americans reclaming their right to Constitutionally limited government. America is in good hands--the hands of the people. Are we ready to restore power to our local governments?  Our we ready to get federal government off of 70% of our lands? Join hands with Americans through the ages, that time and time again we can to what it takes. The future begins today to reduce deficit spending and restore Constitutional debate in Congress. Mike Lee will never vote for a single bill that does not pass the test of comporting with the Constitution. Bills in congress must be read before they are voted on.

11:30 AM - Cherilyn Eagar nominated by Patrick Henry Caucus and Gayle Ruzicka.  She can trust her not to change. Story of the globe: daddy what are you doing with my world?  What are we doing with our children's world?  We must restore the shining city on a hill. Abolish Department of Education. Get out of United Nations. Audit the Federal Reserve. End backroom deals and pork barrel earmarks. The decision is not about personality but principle.  Eagar receives some of the warmest applause of the morning.

11:38 AM - Wow!  3,441 delegates of the 3,500 arrived and were credentialed by the 10:30 AM cutoff.  The credentials chair recommends that ten delegates who arrived after that time, meaning that only 49 delegates are not here.  Actually one more--3,452 delegates are here.  98.6 percent!  That has to be a record!

11:45 AM - All the speeches are now over...let the voting begin. Ballout instructions: DO NOT FOLD YOUR STINKING BALLOT!  Also, ONLY circle one name, despite what some campaigns may have told you.  I heard rumors that Bennett was telling Lee supporters to circle both their first and second choices on the first ballot.

11:47 AM - The first balloting for the Utah Senate race is officially open. Herds of delegates begin to mingle toward a plethora of ballot boxes, which were first held up high and turned upside down to prove that they did not contain any "stuffed" ballots.  I predict that we'll hear the results in 57 minutes from now, but that might be a tad optimistic.  I'm watching some other guy's computer while he votes, and then I'll go cast mine. A trip to the bathroom may occur either before or after I cast my ballot depending on how long the other guy takes to get back.

12:02 PM - That wasn't too painful. Only 15 minutes for almost 3,500 delegates to vote.  Kudos go to the ballot box volunteers with their red and green flags letting delegates know which ballot boxes were available for the casting of ballots.  I wonder how much preparation and "dry runs" go into a convention to make sure that it goes right.  At any rate, so far so good!!!

Thanks goes to the Salt Palace Convention Center staff who saw the long restroom line and immediately directed us to another restroom in a vacant part of the convention floor.  I feel much better now, except that I'm still hungry.  They could probably have set up a few more food kiosks.  Oh well, I've eaten a bit too much in the last couple of days anyway.

12:10 PM - Greetings to hundreds of live-blog viewers from such far-flung places as Atlanta, Newark NJ, New Hampshire, all over Utah (of course) Washington, D.C., New York, Kansas, and even some from Canada!  The convention will pick up again in just a few minutes.

12:14 PM - Predictions of Bennett's demise.  I just saw my sister-in-law's father, who is a State Delegate from St. George.  I asked him what the heck he was doing with a Bennett sticker on his shirt.  ;-) At any rate, other delegates are wondering whether Bennett will make it through the first round of voting--i.e. predicting that he won't. (Party rules state that in any race with more than 3 candidates (for purposes of speeding up convention proceedings) the first vote will narrow the field to 3 candidates.  I didn't know that before I started reading the copious literature that the State Party sent a week or so ago, and I'm not so sure I like that idea.  I like more of an Instant Run-off type vote, even if we have to be here until tomorrow!!!  ;-)

12:17 PM - The convention is called back to order (while the Senate votes are counted).  The candidates for governor will now be given 7 minutes each to speak.  Ya-a-a-a-w-w-w-wn. I actually saw one person wearing a Herbert for Governor t-shirt.  With candidates like Super Dell Schanze, I suspect he's not very nervous at the intra-party challenge. 

12:18 PM - Richard Martin is not a very good speaker, but he makes a good point that Utahns are conservative morally but not very much so politically. 34% increase in Utah budget in same time that California's only increased by 21%. Martin has written 33 books, but although he's apparently an intelligent thinker, he doesn't seem like a governor to me.  He expresses to delegates that he hopes to be in a primary, but I doubt he'll make it. Even if he IS a direct descendent of Thomas Jefferson.

12:25 PM - In 2000, Super Dell nominated some guy (whose name has fallen into ignominy) for governor at the State Convention I attended in the E Center. It was funny, which means that it was not serious. Imagine my surprise when I found earlier this year that Super Dell is now RUNNING for that position in 2010.  Oh well, as Jakov Smirnoff used to say "Vat a country!!"

6 Minutes later... With one minute to go, no sign of Super Dell.  Someone named Chuck Smith(?)  has spent all the time nominating him...

1 Minute later... Is Super Dell even in the convention center?  He did not come to the podium. Chuck spent all of Dell's 7 minutes talking or other.

12:33 PM- Dan Oaks speaks. I guess I should have taken this race more seriously, but when Dan Oaks promised to give me a free copy of his famous Cookin software (an 80 dollar value!!!) if I came to a cottage meeting, I kind of tuned out.  He reminds governor Herbert that Utah is NOT the best-managed state.  Oaks would work to bring back more federal land to Utah.

12:40 PM - Utah Lt Governor Greg Bell rises to support Gary Herbert for governor. Governor Herbert has risen to the challenges of these economically perilous times.  Herbert's speech is much better and more rousing than I expected. In addition to talking about the importance of free enterprise to navigate us through perilous economic waters, the Governor decried the encroachment of the Federal Government into state and local issues.  Oops! He suggested that Mitt Romney should be next president of the United States.

But here's a great quote: "We can't have more people in the wagon than there are pulling the wagon. A sense of entitlement is disastrous for our country."

Herbert campaign has a nice closing touch: a rousing rendition of "You Ain't Seen Nothin Yet" by Bachman Turner Overdrive (unless some new band has decided to remake that one too!!!)

12:49 PM - Candidates for 1st Congressional District. Rob Bishop is up first. Nominated by Don Guymon who served on State Party committee with Rep. Bishop, as well as former high school student of Bishop's, whom he said taught him so much.  Rep. Bishop reminded us of his (in my opinion) excellent voting record against all the crap that has been going on in Washington, such as TARP.  We are not just the party of "no", we are the party of "hell no!" Bishop prides himself on how much time he spends responding to constituents.  I'd have a hard time if I were forced to choose between him and Jason Chaffetz.  He has a speedy voice and amazing understanding of Constitution. He explained in one minute how progressives came in late 1800's to claim that Constitution was "living" and that checks and balances are "constitutional witchcraft" (Woodrow Wilson said this).

12:57 PM - Mike Ridgeway is an angry man. Claims that Bishop didn't give Jeremy Friedbaum time to speak at 1999 convention.  Claims to not have been a swearer before, but he is now because of how angry he is at politics in Utah.  I think he made it clear that he's running for Rob Bishop's spot because he's angry at someone.

Sorry...I had to go grab some very expensive lunch...  ;-)

1:05 PM- Neil Walter for 2nd Congressional District speaks. He speaks for states rights, reducing dependence on foreign oil, defense of marriage, right to bear arms, right to worship, etc.  I suspect that he will take Morgan Philpot to a primary. "I will take my character to Washington, because there is none there." Time to put federal government's house in order.

1:12 PM - Morgan Philpot speaks. Do we want the Constitution, or do we want a government that can require us to buy a good as a requirement of citizenship?  We have the respsonsibility to lead the Constitutional revival that is occurring in this country. "Health care--two words--'defund' and 'repeal'."  If I were voting in the 2nd district, I would vote for Philpot, although both are fabulous Constitutional candidates.

1:20 PM - Ed Eliason speaks.  He told a story of how he was told by a professional politician that he wasn't qualified to run for Congress.  He said "I checked the Constitution, and guess what? I AM qualified to run for Congress."

Special Announcement: @saintless reports on twitter that over at the Democratic side of the convention center, Claudia Wright will very likely go to a primary with inncumbent Jim Matheson, and she may even win 60% of the votes and the nomination outright.  That's not good, because all of these candidates over here are talking about how they're gonna clean Matheson's clock. ;-)

1:27 PM - Because he is running unoppsed, Jason Chaffetz is declared the nominee by acclamation of the convention to represent Utah's 3rd Congressional District at the General Election in November. And he gives an extemely inspiring speech anyway!  Congress cannot be all things to all people. It does not understand that the proper role of government does not include cash for clunkers, stimuli, and forcing people to purchase health care. 


  1. Hey, get with the program. We need more updates Frank! No lalygagn around the water cooler. What's going on?!

  2. I'm watching all of this from the great state of New York! Vote Bennett Utah! The news doesn't seem great for Senator Bennett, even though a majority of Utah voters support his campaign, talk about not be represented.

    I blogged about the Convention earlier this morning in NY, hope someone enjoys it.

  3. Bennett's favorability rating in Utah, the Naked Reelection question is incredibly low. Last I heard it was below 30% of Utahns want him returned to the US Senate.

    When he loses today, it will reflect the majority of Utahns who do not support him.

  4. Thank you for doing this. I'm assuming it's all on the up and up and legit and being reported accurately. My husband is there as a delegate from Washington County. I am so anxious to find out results and I know that he won't sneak out to call me about it. So now I can know before he gets home. Thank you again! This is a wonderful service for those not there!

  5. 30 minutes since your last post. I'm dieing here!

  6. Jason Chaffetz? Again? Shoot ... just when I thought the embarrassment consistently wrought upon Utah by our politicians might subside.

    All the more reason now to keep Bennett in the running.

    BTW. Good reporting, Frank. :)

  7. Frank, you just got scooped by the Dnews. :)

    They are reporting that the first ballots were counted and Lee (28%), Bridgewater (26%) and Bennett (25%) advance. Considering those that dropped out the most likely scenario is that Lee and Bridgewater go to a Primary. I can't see any of the right wing delegates voting for the lesser candidates supporting Bennett.

    The unknown is how many delegates voted then left. That could have a big impact on who moves into a Primary. I think there is zero chance that anyone gets 60%.

  8. Thank-you for these updates and information. I have enjoyed being able to follow what is going on from home.

  9. Let's hope noone left!!! This is an important vote!

  10. Let's hope everyone's second choice is Tim Bridgewater. I know you're in favor of Mike Lee, but we're hoping for Tim. Thanks for reporting!


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