NewsMax Magazine has an article about the growth of the Utah Tea Party movement. My friend, Brian Halladay, is quoted,
“Our feeling is that the majority of the Republican Party delegates are now tea party people,” Brian Halladay, one of the founders of the grass-roots Utah Rising organization, tells Newsmax.
NewsMax also interviewed Dave Hansen, Utah GOP Chairman, who said,
“I’m sure they have a very strong bloc, and they may have control,” Dave Hansen, chairman of the Utah GOP, tells Newsmax. “But we won’t know that until we get to the convention.”
But the really interesting part is their discussion with Hansen concerning the fate of incumbent Senator Bob Bennett.
Dave Weigel of the Washington Post reported Tuesday that a recent poll of more than 1,000 GOP delegates in Utah showed that Bennett is the top choice of only 15 percent of them. Tea party favorite Mike Lee, an attorney and first-time candidate, was the top choice of 35 percent of the delegates polled.
Hansen is skeptical that Bennett is in as much trouble as that survey suggests, however.
The results from the straw poll taken today at the Utah County Republican Convention are in, and Bob Bennet is still carrying only about 15% of the delegates.
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The Rasmussen poll quoted by NewsMax also fails to mention Cherilyn Eagar, who is in second place behind Mike Lee. Additionally, Rasmussen polled GOP voters, which may or may not have included delegates. And in Utah’s Primary system, the delegates decide who the voters will have to choose from on the ballot.
What this means is that, if these patterns hold up, Bob Bennett won’t have enough to win the first round of voting at the State Convention next month, because the first round of voting will reduce the field to three candidates. It looks like it’s no longer a question of Bob Bennett getting 40% or more of the votes, and the balance being split by his three challengers. Bob Bennett is fighting for his political career.
That would be the kind of political decision I would like to face more often–the choice between three equally competent candidates who are all strong conservatives.