Moving Utah’s presidential nominating contest from a caucus to a primary, and putting it on Super Tuesday paid off in spades for the state this year.
In 2019, lawmakers decided to spend $3 million to move Utah into the Super Tuesday contest with 13 other states.
Utah voters swarmed the polls (or mailboxes as most ballots were cast by mail). The Utah Elections office said Tuesday that more than 421,000 voters had cast a ballot, the highest turnout for a presidential primary in history.
Most of those voters cast a ballot for Donald Trump. It’s not surprising that Trump won the Republican primary as he faced just token opposition in the state, but he did garner more votes than the entire Democratic field combined on Tuesday.
On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders repeated his win from 2016, pulling in just over 30% of the vote. Michael Bloomberg got slightly more than 19% while Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden were hovering just above 15%. Democratic nominating rules say a candidate must hit 15% in order to win delegates to the national convention.
Utah voters received much more attention from the candidates than they are used to because of the move to Super Tuesday. Prior to Tuesday’s vote, Utah saw visits from Sanders, Warren, Bloomberg (twice), Buttigieg, and Klobuchar. Bloomberg and Sanders both opened campaign offices here, while the former New York Mayor spent more than $3 million on advertising in Utah.
Utah had 29 pledged delegates up for grabs on Tuesday on the Democratic side. 10 of those were allocated statewide while the other 19 were split among the state’s four congressional districts. Those delegates will be elected at the state convention in April.