Republican lawmakers keenly aware of election year politics this session

Utah Capitol 18

The House Republican caucus likes to invite various folks to speak before it, with members asking questions of the attendees afterward.

Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, came to talk about the Congress.

Earlier this session, newly-installed Democratic Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall came and promised to try to work with Republicans on the Hill. She got two loud rounds of applause.

Sen. Mitt Romney’s office says he will visit with Utah lawmakers sometime in the coming weeks.

Romney has been taking a lot of heat recently for his public statements and stance on the impeachment of GOP President Donald Trump.

Of interest this year — all six major GOP candidates for governor have been invited, and all but Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox have said yes.

“They will start coming next week,” said one leader.

Bishop was told he could speak about his work in Congress, but not address issues related to him being Thomas Wright’s lieutenant governor candidate — the caucus wants to be fair to all gubernatorial candidates.

Cox is in a politically weird place this session. As a former Utah House member, Cox has been a major liaison between Gov. Gary Herbert and the majority party.

But now Cox is a gubernatorial candidate himself, close in the polls with former Gov. Jon Huntsman, who is running for his old post again.

Cox also oversees the Utah Election Office and has set up a process whereby any issues applying to him as a candidate will be handled by an outside former LG.

By the way, Bishop is a former Utah House member and was speaker of that body at one time.

Utah GOP politics: Wheels within wheels.