Utah GOP Convention: Kennedy beats Romney to force a U.S. Senate primary; Herrod narrowly advances to primary against Curtis

For a second time in five months – but by very different numbers in party delegate support – the 3rd Congressional District GOP nomination will go to a primary election.

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, lost to Herrod last August, finishing fifth in the special delegate vote. But since then new delegates have been elected – in March – and in Saturday’s state GOP convention Herrod advanced into the second round of balloting, pulling just over 40% support to Curtis’s 57%.

In the final round, again, he barely escaped being eliminated – with Curtis getting most of the votes – but not quite 60 percent needed with 58.25% for Curtis and 41.25% for Herrod.

They will meet each other once more, this time in the June primary.

Curtis got into last August’s primary by successfully gathering 7,000 signatures of GOP voters.

He did the same thing this year.

So Curtis could not have been eliminated Saturday. But Herrod, who didn’t take the signature route, could have been.

Curtis coasted to the primary win in August 2017, and in the final in November.

And polls show he is ahead of Herrod once again this year.

The primary election is June 26 – and only registered GOP voters can cast a ballot.

Showing that some delegates are louder than others, Herrod got a rousing cheer in his speeches.

Curtis, not as much, although the actually finished much better in delegate voting than Herrod.

In the U.S. Senate Race, Mitt Romney was forced into a primary election against Rep. Mike Kennedy. 

Romney pulled just over 46% support in the first round of voting, while Kennedy got slightly under 41%. In the second round, Romney was unable to win the nomination outright as Kennedy beat him by just under 2-percentage points 50.88% to 49.12%.

“We expected a primary,” said Kennedy shortly after securing a spot in the June election. “We’re happy to offer our services to the people of Utah.”

Romney secured his spot on the primary ballot by gathering the 28,000 signatures required under Utah’s hybrid nomination system. He said he felt good that he got nearly half of the delegate vote on Saturday despite the delegate animosity toward signature gathering candidates.

“I saw a lot of support here today, which is surprising given the fact that I collected signatures and the delegates don’t like people who collect signatures,” said Romney. ” I know there were many people who were not enthusiastic about someone who gathered signatures, but I’m proud of the fact I did it.”

Reps. Rob Bishop and Chris Stewart cruised to the nomination in their races on Saturday, and Rep. Mia Love was unopposed.

Love used her time at the podium to give a stump speech full of red meat for the delegates, and to take some shots at her presumptive Democratic opponent in November, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. She also took time to invoke frequent GOP boogeyman (or woman if you will) Nancy Pelosi.

“Nancy Pelosi would love to divide our delegation and drive liberal policies,” said Love. “Do you want 4th District supported by someone who voted for unrestricted abortion, who said they would have voted against tax reform?”

In the 1st CD, Bishop cruised past Chadwick Fairbanks, who used his time at the podium to rail against the “deep state,” which he said he would declare war on if elected. Fairbanks was able to garner just over 30% of the delegate vote against Bishop.