There is no way anyone saw this coming. It’s becoming increasingly likely that Utah could play a pivotal role in the GOP presidential nominating contest.
Utah’s presidential primary is last in line on June 26th. On that day, 40 delegates will be up for grabs in the “winner take all” primary. Utah GOP chairman Thomas Wright says there is a scenario unfolding wherein Utah may provide the last delegates to put Mitt Romney over the 1,144 needed to win the nomination.
“I spoke to national GOP chairman Rience Priebus yesterday and we laughed about it. Regardless of how this plays out, Utah will be relevant in the process for the first time in a long time.”
Wright says he doesn’t see a contingency where Utah doesn’t vote to give those 40 delegates to Mitt Romney, but that doesn’t mean the other candidates in the race won’t try to compete here.
“I have letters from Ron Paul and Rick Santorum asking to be on the ballot. I haven’t heard from Newt Gingrich yet, but we will forward these names to the Lt. Governor’s office.”
Wright sees a number of huge benefits for the Utah GOP if the June primary becomes relevant like many expect.
“We will be the last state to go and will get some national attention,” he says. “A lot of people are going to want to participate in a primary that’s nationally televised, and they will want to vote for Mitt Romney.”
In order to vote in the GOP primary, you have to register as a Republican. With the kind of enthusiasm Wright anticipates, he thinks the state GOP will go a long way towards the goal of registering 100,000 independents to register as Republicans and getting another 100,000 new voters to the polls. If that happens, it could provide a huge advantage for the Utah GOP come November.
“Are you kidding me? Utah is a Republican state and I would not want to be a Democrat on the ballot in November. This will energize the Republican base in the state. It will help us promote Utah in a political sense nationally.”
Needless to say, Wright understands the magnitude of the moment that seems to be heading our way.
“Utah is finally relevant on the national stage. This may not happen again in our lifetime.”