Saturday, May 08, 2010

Live Blogging the Utah Republican State Convention: A Wrap-Up

I never thought I'd spend the whole day giving a delegate's-eye view of the Utah Republican State Convention, but I've never had so much political fun in my life. For those who got to read along, I hope it was helpful to you to know a little bit more about how conventions work. I'm worn out, but it was a very fun day.  Included in this article are some parting thoughts about how I thought things turned out.

If you were there, or if you listened in, I'm curious how you felt about the outcome.

Updated 5/10/2010 with vote tallies for 1st and 2nd (and hopefully 3rd) rounds of voting.

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In case you didn't see my other articles, the first one started early this morning, and the second one took over when the the US Senate race became very exciting.  Here are links to those articles:


Live Blogging from the Utah State Republican Convention


Part 2 of Live Blogging from the Utah State Republican Convention

Vote Tallies.   Thank you to a reader for the vote tallies for the 1st round of voting for the Senate race, as well as the comparison between total number of credentialed delegates and total number of votes:

  • Mike Lee 982 - 28.75%
  • Tim Bridgewater 917 - 26.84%
  • Bob Bennett 885 - 25.91%
  • Cherilyn Eagar 541 - 15.84%
  • All others 91 - 2.66%
That means that of 3,452 credentialed delegates, 3416 ballots were counted.  There are a few reasons that could have caused 36 ballots not to have been counted, the most likely of which to me are (a) a spoiled ballot--perhaps someone voted for more than one candidate against clear instructions not to do so, someone used the wrong ballot (ballots were clearly labeled as for use during the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd round, or (c) someone wasn't paying attention.   ;-)  Does anyone know for sure what may have happened in any of these cases?

For the 2nd round, here are the tallies for the three remaining candidates for the Senate race:
  • Tim Bridgewater 1274 37.42% 
  • Mike Lee 1225 35.99% 
  • Bob Bennett 905 26.59%
I'm trying to track down the numbers for the 3rd round of voting...

Bob Bennett is in the process of retiring.  As you may have noticed in other articles on this blog, I have wanted Bob Bennett out of the Senate for a long time.  I am rather satisfied that this happened today, and I'm also actually somewhat surprised, because I kept expecting some sort of bombshell or some behind-the-scenes machinations from the "party machine" that would bring Bob Bennett to a primary. I must admit that my faith in honest party politics has been at least somewhat restored.

I was a little miffed during the afternoon, however, when this story was posted on the Salt Lake Tribune.  The conspiracy theorist in me jumped out a little bit, but I'll let them chalk it up to an honest mistake.  At any rate, the story (see image link above) stayed on sltrib.com for close to an hour before being corrected.  All during that time, convention delegates continued to wait for what turned out to be the real results.

Orrin, Thy Days are Numbered.  You may also be aware that I don't care much for Orrin Hatch as a Senator, for essentially the same reasons that I haven't approved of Bennett's performance.  A few of us spoke together after the convention wondering whether it might be more healthy for Senator Hatch to announce his retirement, rather than to risk suffering in two years the same ignominy as Senator Bennett.

Mike Lee vs. Tim Bridgewater Primary.  I would be positively euphoric to the point of having fainted if Mike Lee had won the Republican nomination outright, but as things turned out, I am compelled to admit that (I hope) a Republican Primary will be healthy.  I ran into some of my Democrat friends at the Salt Palace as our respective conventions were nearing completion, and they disagreed with me on this point.  One said, "Your primaries are downright violent!"  Here's to hoping that, regardless of who wins, THIS primary is respectful and talks to the issues.  Which leads me to my next point...

What's With All the Mike Lee Character Assassination Attempts?  Color me naive, but I really didn't expect some of the crap that was foisted on the Mike Lee campaign in the last few days before the convention.  It was not surprising that Bennett and Bridgewater would challenge him on his stance on Afghanistan.  As an Iraq war veteran, their attack ticked me off, but that issue is simply a matter of disagreement.

Some of the other issues, however, were downright despicable and turned off quite a few candidates to Mike Lee.  (I'm prejudiced toward Mike Lee, so please correct my blinders if necessary...) Valid points were made about disagreements in Lee's, Bridgewater's, and Bennett's political lives, but it seems to me that assassination attempts were only practiced against Mike Lee, which tells me that SOMEONE wants at all costs to see Mike Lee defeated.  Youtube videos and convention eve mailers making Mr. Lee out to be a religious bigot were almost without doubt carefully crafted attacks from supporters of either the Bridgewater or Bennett campaigns. It will be interesting to see if the culprits can be apprehended in short order so that the impending primary season can proceed along the lines of actual campaign issues.

...developing...

7 comments:

  1. I'm really saddened by the results of the convention tonight; having followed Bennett's career and admired his effectiveness as a legislator, I fear it will mean a reduced influence for Utah in the Senate.

    Also, as a Utah Mormon, I'm a little bothered by your blog title--you may be a Mormon, and these may be your politics, but that doesn't make them "Mormon politics." There is no such thing, and it's contrary to church teachings to pretend that there is.

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  2. Dave: Although I have stood firmly against Bennett I wish him no ill and thank him for many votes I did agree with along the way.

    Flashback to 1992 when Bennett was campaigning for the Senate Bennett was asked:
    "If elected, you will have no seniority in the U.S. Senate. Even if congressional reform takes place in the near future, Utah will be left in the next few years with a Senator without clout. How do you propose to overcome that?"
    Bennett's response showed he himself recognized the power a junior senator can have: "The rules of the Senate give a new senator power to influence legislation in a way that many new members of the House cannot.... Recent history reminds us that new senators, who are willing to work hard, often have a significant impact even in their first terms. For example, Sen. Hatch led the fight against significant new labor laws during his first term. I am tenacious and work hard. I will have an impact, even as a junior senator...."
    Source: Salt Lake Tribune, The (UT) - Thursday, October 29, 1992

    I fear that Utah would have greater reduced influence if Bennett were kept as we would be a state beholden to lobbyist donations of incumbents rather than grassroots, constitutional republicanism. We will now wield a Senator like Scott Brown who we can claim as "the people's seat".

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  3. Dave: I've not had someone interpret my blog title in that way before. Usually I am referred to be detractors as a "Simple Utah Mormon" or even a "Simplistic" Utah Mormon. That's closer to what the title really means.

    nacilbupera: Thank you for an excellent find in the annals of history. That is a very good point. You've probably gathered that I support Mike Lee ;-) but even if Tim Bridgewater becomes our next Senator, the process has shown that it is healthy and that the people do have an influence.

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  4. nacilbupera:

    But it won't be "the people's seat"--is there any doubt that had Bennett been permitted to run in the primary, he would have won? Instead, a narrow group of delegates have subverted the will of Utah Republicans at large.

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  5. Dave: That's one way of looking at it. But if we extrapolated that nationally as far as it could go, every adult American could also be a member of Congress and help decide every issue. I know that's an exaggeration, but it illustrates my point. Not everyone has the desire to study the platforms of--in this case--8 different candidates (and 3 from the Democrats), and so they come to the caucus meetings and elect representatives to do that for them. Even at that, many people don't come to the caucuses.

    Delegates to both the Republican and Democrat conventions take their responsibilities very seriously. We spend hours and hours studying platforms, visiting with candidates, and attending debates. You may be right that the populace at large would have elected Bennett, but it's hard to know.

    Here's my story--I told my caucus members that the REASON I wanted to be a state delegate is so that I could vote against Bob Bennett; I received a (nearly standing) ovation, and I won the delegate seat with nearly 75% of the vote. The reason that I tell that story is because I have talked with dozens of delegates and heard news stories from dozens of other areas that the sentiment almost all across the state was the same--anti-Bennett.

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  6. Do you have the raw tally counts for each round in the US Senate race? I'm finding round one:

    Lee 982
    Bridgewater 917
    Bennett 885
    Eagar 541

    All others = 91
    Total of 3416 ballots cast. Credentialed voters was 3452

    Why were some ballots not cast (or were they just spoiled ballots)?

    I'd like to see raw data for round two and round three. Percentages skew when trying to analyze where support went from other candidates, how many delegates stayed to vote in subsequent rounds, etc.

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  7. Anonymous: Thanks for the details of round one. I have added those to an update to the article, along with the tallies and percentages I found from round 2. I'm still tracking down the round 3 numbers.

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