Democrats back McMullin for Senate at state convention | News, Sports, Jobs


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Evan McMullin addresses delegates during the Utah Democratic Convention at Cottonwood High School on Saturday, April 23, 2022. While running as an independent, he will have the support of the Utah Democratic Party in the race for the U.S. Senate .

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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Supporters of Evan McMullin raise signs during the Utah Democratic Convention at Cottonwood High School on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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A delegate drops their ballot into a ballot box during the Utah Democratic convention at Cottonwood High School on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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Representatives from the Senate campaigns of Evan McMullin and Kael Weston discuss speaking procedures behind a curtain during the Utah Democratic Convention at Cottonwood High School on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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Democrat Kael Weston addresses delegates during the Utah Democratic Convention at Cottonwood High School on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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Delegates raise their signs in the air to vote during the Utah Democratic Convention at Cottonwood High School on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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Evan McMullin listens to speakers at the Utah Democratic Convention at Cottonwood High School on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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Former Rep. Ben McAdams, left, and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson speak during the Utah Democratic Convention at Cottonwood High School on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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Former Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Merchant speaks as delegates vote during the Utah Democratic Convention at Cottonwood High School on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald

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Kael Weston supporters raise signs during the Utah Democratic Convention at Cottonwood High School on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald
















For hours, the debate raged. Essentially, it was the debate about the debate.

More than 1,300 Utah Democrats attended the state convention on Saturday to determine party leadership, party platform and candidates for a host of federal elections. At the forefront of everyone’s minds, however, was the United States Senate.

With a motion introduced, as expected, by Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, delegates were given a choice between Kael Weston, the lone Democrat in the race, or having no candidate while supporting the candidacy of Evan McMullin as a freelancer.

By late afternoon, the votes had been tallied and it was decided that McMullin would have the full support of the Utah Democratic Party and the Senate campaign is coming to an end for former State Department official Weston. . In the end, 594 delegates (43%) voted to support Weston while 782 (57%) supported the no-candidate option, clearing the way for McMullin.

It was the end of a difficult road for Weston; but at a press conference after the convention, he said he wasn’t done working.

“I don’t have a horse outside of this school. I’m not gonna go off at sunset and hang around Kane County for the next five years. There are important battles, there are important issues that we need to talk about and I intend to do so,” he said.

Before the final outcome could be determined, however, drama ensued in the auditorium at Cottonwood High School. Since he was not seeking a spot on the ballot as a Democrat, McMullin was unable to address delegates, both gathered in person and online.

To avoid a free-for-all with speakers, Jeff Merchant, the former chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, proposed that each campaign have five people speak on their behalf for one minute each. The rule was challenged – with one delegate proposing that the two go to a primary election, which was summarily shot down – with the two campaigns eventually going behind the scenes to negotiate.

After more than 30 minutes, the two sides agreed on the five-speaker plan. Each of Weston’s speakers emphasized the value of a candidate with a “D” next to their name. Some have called it an attempt to “disenfranchise” Democrats who seek to back a candidate they agree with.

For the McMullin campaign, it was a steady stream of elected officials, including Wilson, former Reps. Ben McAdams and Jim Matheson and Utah House nominee Daniel Friend of Provo. The fifth speaker drew an immediate reaction from the crowd – McMullin himself.

After a brief hug between Merchant and party members, McMullin was allowed to speak despite not being a Democratic state delegate. He took advantage of his minute to talk about democracy and to urge, one last time, the delegates to support him.

Despite his appeal, many delegates supporting Weston were angry at the plan and McMullin’s presence. Some in the crowd booed, others shouted “traitor” and other one-word descriptors meant to show their displeasure.

Although he does not align himself with most mainstream Democratic political positions, McMullin will actively court their votes through November and believes his pro-democracy message will resonate with voters. He also told the press after the convention that he would ask Weston to support his campaign.

“I know we have a lot more in common in this coalition than differences and few leaders will recognize that, but it’s true,” McMullin said after the convention. “Democrats put country before party,” he said.

Ogden Rep. Rosemary Lesser, while not part of the group mocking the former presidential candidate, was nevertheless hoping for a different outcome. Despite supporting a Democrat on the ballot, she said “it was the voice of the people who were there.”

Lesser added that she doesn’t expect the Senate race to have an effect on her own campaign for the Utah House District 10 seat, saying she wants her bid to be about herself and on its policies. Weston had a message for the other candidates, though, in case the question arose.

“Regardless of the drama that has surrounded me and the race for the Senate, you are doing the right thing and you are going to be able to bring these issues to the voters,” he said.

Katie Adams-Anderton, chairwoman of the Utah County Democratic Party, worries that not supporting Weston could have an effect on other candidates and voters. She fears that Utah County Democrats will receive the number of volunteers and resources they need to participate in local races.

“Our members are our lifeblood in supporting candidates, and many no longer feel like they can trust the party,” she said. “I am not at all happy with this situation, but I will try to ensure that our campaigns and our membership remain intact. I am not asking anyone to support Evan, but I am asking them to support candidates whose ideology represents their way of thinking.

To move forward in the Senate race, the plan is simple and written on yard signs held up by McMullin supporters throughout the day. They want to “beat Lee”.

“We know Senator Mike Lee has been very involved in the effort to overthrow our democracy and we need to take a stand as Utahns. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Independent, Republican, or a member of the United Utah Party – that’s a line that can’t be crossed, our right to hold our leaders accountable and to vote for or against them and have peaceful power transitions,” McMullin said.

Other results

These were also the four congressional seats up for election. All four Republican incumbents qualified for the June primaries, but the Democratic races have all been decided.

Two of the races included only one candidate; therefore, Darlene McDonald will be the candidate in the 4th District and Rick Jones will represent the party in the 1st District. The two contested races were for the 2nd District – represented by Rep. Chris Stewart and stretching from Davis County along the state’s western and southern rural borders – and Utah County’s 3rd District in Park City and Moab .

Summit County Councilman Glenn Wright will be the 3rd District nominee after receiving 291 votes (91.22%) compared to Orem resident Archie Williams’ 28 votes (8.78%).

The candidate for the 2nd district will be Nick Mitchell, narrowly avoiding a primary with 198 votes (60.18%) against 131 for Steve Hartwick (39.82%).



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