Utah Republican candidates facing convention fights have tacked further to the right this year than in any election I can remember. Most candidates have attempted to out-conservative each other, especially in the U.S. Senate race, showcasing their conservative ideology rather than outlining practical solutions to the state’s and nation’s problems.
But once the eventual nominees face general election voters, it will be interesting to see if they suddenly become more mainstream and leave their arch-conservative rhetoric behind. Surveys show that mainstream voters hold more moderate positions on many issues than do state delegates.
One person who is obviously watching the Republican Senate battle with some glee is Sam Granato, the Democratic candidate. He is, no doubt, hoping incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett is ousted in convention or the GOP primary election so he will face a candidate more on the ideological fringe in the general election.
Certainly, the final GOP nominee will be the heavy favorite in the Senate race, not matter who it is. But Granato is likely carefully documenting some of the more arch-conservative statements made and positions taken by Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater to use in the general election should one of them be the GOP nominee.
It might keep the Senate race interesting even in the general election phase of the campaign.