Saturday, May 10, 2008

Behind the Scenes - 2008 State Convention

I previously posted my basic rundown of what happened at the 2008 Utah Republican Party State Convention, now lets talk about what really happened, well sort of. The place was a circus. I wouldn't go so far as to say it was fun, but very entertaining. I wished I would of kept a list of all the crazy things that happened, but I didn't so here are just some that I remember.

Getting credentials - this wasn't too bad. They had the hallway, before we got into the gym, marked off into lanes so that we could get to the right area. My table was a little slow, there was an older gentleman checking us in. He accidentally picked up two name tags with mine and ripped them both (one part they keep, the other we wear around our necks). Hopefully the guy didn't have problems when he checked in.

The candidates had booths set up all over. There were people standing around everywhere passing out papers, pins, stickers, food, etc. Outside Huntsman and Herbert had a tent where they were serving breakfast goodies. Cannon had a hospitality room. They were serving breakfast goodies also. He had a wii set up, no one was playing when we were there, but I'm sure as the day wore on it got some use. You would not believe how many kids were at this event. They were there as campaign supporters. They were cheering, chanting, and passing out stuff along with the rest of them. Shurtleff and Levitt had a joint suite.

Jim Bishoff spoke about the war, but we didn't get to see much of it, he started later than the paper I had stated and we needed to get to our Senate Caucus meeting.

Our Senate Caucus meeting was a few buildings over. We got there with plenty of time to go. The House District that was having their caucus before us was running over so it was nice to meet up with other delegates and chat awhile.

Ron Phillips a delegate from our precinct got to do the timing. This is what happens when you know the guy running the caucus! Nothing too exciting happened in here. After others spoke to nominate and second their nominations, Lane Henderson and Mark Madsen spoke. The Election Judge had to get someone to vouch for a man's address so that he could vote. Apparently he was placed in the wrong district. We had to vote on allowing him to vote. We signed our names on a roll, had our name tags marked and then we dropped our ballots in the boxes.

As far as booths and campaign themes go I liked David Leavitt's the best. He had an over all theme of "Restore America's Promise." His colors were orange and blue and at his booth it was setup like a lemonade stand. My daughter happens to love the mini fan that came with his goodie bag. It spells out electric messages relating to David Leavitt and his campaign.

Now for the main meeting - We had the normal opening items. The National Anthem was sung by Gary Herberts daughter-in-law, Carmen Rasmusen Herbert. Stan Lockhart plugged the party's blog

Now for some of the drama: Mike Ridgway. I know some might say enough said, but I don't know his history with Stan Lockhart or the party leadership. What I do know is that in his precinct caucus meeting he was elected to be a state delegate. Then the party wouldn't allow him to be a delegate. I find this completely absurd. I don't care how much you hate someone they shouldn't be allowed to take away your right to vote. Some guy tried to make a motion for the party to allow Mike to vote and Stan just steam rolled right over him.
Stan talked about how he has spent most of his time dealing with the new "I can" campaign. They take it from Republican. They gave us all buttons that have different "I can" sayings. Some were serious and some were silly. Things like, I can dream big, I can start my own business, I can live in the best managed state, I can eat sushi, I can snowboard, I can putt, I can text message, I can pay lower taxes, etc. I guess they will start promoting it this year. I don't mind it. It could turn out to be really good. We'll just have to wait and see what they do with it.

We broke out into our congressional districts. We just stayed where we were.

We finally got to hear from Stone Fonua. I had no idea who he was, in fact I had thought he must of dropped out of the race. He seemed to only be there to promote his "Peacemaker Bill". I got a little worried when he started to show the signs (meaning hand signals) for his peacemaker stuff.

Joe Ferguson still talked about the North American Union. I believe him when he says that this is a treat to American. I just don't think that he went about it the right way. He seemed to be some what fanatical about it.

David Leavitt had a video, but his speech was not the best I've heard. I really liked David Leavitt, but I guess some people who listened to him early on (even before filing for the office) and then hearing him more recently felt like he wasn't strong enough on the issues. They felt like he was more about good feelings. He dropped a bunch of balloons at the end of his speech. Unfortunately one large bag didn't get untied. I thought someone should have tried a little harder to get it down. What a waste of money for it to still be up there at the end. Perhaps that was on purpose. Maybe they were planning to drop it at the end if he won or was going to a primary.
Jason Chaffetz gave his same memorized speech. I have really liked what Jason has to say, but every time I've listened to him (delegate open house, county convention, debate, and state convention) he has delivered the same exact speech. I guess it has worked for him. He nearly knocked out Cannon right there at the convention. He only needed 9 more votes and he would of been the republican nominee and avoided a primary. This is why you stay until the end to make sure your vote counts. We started out with 1080 votes in round 1, 1046 in round 2 and in the final round only 954. My guess is Jason would of gotten 9 votes out of the 92 people who left.
Chris Cannon is not a public speaker. Everyone will tell you that. He did go on to give probably his best speech ever. He really did do a good job.

So when the results came back it was no surprise that Stone and Joe would be eliminated. However the rest of the results were surprising.

Round 1: (Stone had 4 votes, Joe had 49 votes)

  • David 220
  • Chris 338
  • Jason 469

This left David supporters wondering what to do.

Round 2:

  • David 161 (lost 59 votes)
  • Chris 356 (picked up 18 votes)
  • Jason 529 (picked up 60 votes)

Now David is out of the race. Jason will need 60% of the votes for the final round (the number of votes he would need to win changed each round because fewer people voted in every round). Anything short of that means there will be a primary on June 24th.

I'm sitting next to a lady who is a Leavitt supporter. She was just up at the booths and David was talking to Chris saying he will now be supporting him. This lady said that she wondered how the Leavitt supporters will get to know this. 5 minutes later a bunch of kids (youth) wearing David Leavitt shirts were parading around on the bottom of the floor holding Chris Cannon signs high above their heads. Personally I thought it was brilliant. They got their message across whether I agreed with it or not. Now the sad thing is these poor kids were booed like you would not believe. They had to be asked twice by Stan Lockhart to leave. I could hardly tell what Stan was saying, so I'm sure those kids didn't know he was talking to them the first time. They also hung a banner from the balcony saying Leavitt supports Cannon. They were asked to remove this sign also.

This is where I wonder what the rules really are. Earlier in the day people were passing out literature on the floor and they were told to leave, since it was against the rules for them to be there. In fact, Stan even threatened each campaign if their stuff was being passed on the floor. Now to have Leavitt's campaign come in and show signs isn't any different then what was already in there. Candidate signs and banners were already hanging all over the place. Delegates themselves are wearing candidate t-shirts, button, pins, stickers, etc. How is the advertising Leavitt's campaign was doing any different than what was already being done?

Wait it's not over yet! 5 minutes after the banner was asked to be removed and the kids were told to leave, Chris and David are down on the floor walking the sideline together. David is waving and Chris is shaking people's hands. Again the booing starts. Stan is trying to get control. Telling people to be nice. There are calls out from the crowd about "statesmanship." Oh boy!

Another grand distraction was while someone was at the side mic you hear this yelling. At first it seemed like they were not wanting to let the guy talk, but they were actually calling for a medic. We are not sure what happened, but some guy who was on the side in the stands was down. A bunch of doctors from the crowd ran over. They had to get an ambulance. I'm told he was actually able to walk out with support. We had to vote to accept his ballot, which he had already filled (punched) out. I hope that he is O.K.

Another funny moment came from when Stan Lockhart was talking on behalf on one of the amendments. You were given 1 minute to present it, 5 minutes for debate, and 1 minute to vote on it. Stan talked for his one minute and was told times up and he tried to keep going. He wanted special permission to keep talking about it, but wouldn't grant that for other people. You can only imagine the crowds reaction. Even though he kept trying to talk he was completely out of order and wasn't officially allowed to continue.

There was one vote where they actually had to take a count of all the delegates (yes all 3000+). It was crazy. If we were in favor of the motion we had to stand while holding our credentials up until we were counted. They had people in orange safety vests that were designated counters incase the motion was called for a count. Then the same thing happened with those that opposed. They started to count us before when someone had motioned that maybe we didn't have enough delegates for a quorum. You have to have a certain % present to vote on amendments, resolutions and platform changes. But had decided against it because of how long it takes.

They had a small debate whether we were electing 24 or 27 national delegates (seriously, don't they double check these things). They also made us write in a guys name, because he was not on the list (he did become a delegate, but I think because people voted for him because they thought that maybe he was left off on purpose).

I think that the best speech was given by Cristy Henshaw. She was running for National Committeewoman.

Bob Bennett got to speak earlier than planned so that he could catch a flight so he could be with his wife on Mother's Day.
Orrin Hatch gave a much better speech at our county convention. My neighbor said he thought that the booing must of thrown him off.

We could of done without the "I can" video and the John McCain video. I think that all candidates should of had less time to talk and that perhaps they should of done the voting after the party business so that it could of gotten done. I think it's so sad that we didn't even get to the resolutions and platform changes. People put a lot of time into trying to make these changes. The committees have to review and accept them. Delegates take time going over them. Money goes to printing them up for everyone, and so on and so on. Not that I wanted to stay another 2-3 hours to go through all of them (as it was, I was there at 7:a.m. and home at 5:30p.m.). There has just got to be a better way.
There were so many other things that happened, but this is getting long. Maybe some of my fellow delegates can comment on some that they remember.

The meeting adjourned, but we waited to hear the results of the race with Chris and Jason.

Round 3
  • Chris 391 (40.99%)
  • Jason 563 (59.01%)

I guess I should mention the few party business things we did get to. We passed a constitution amendment to allow precinct chairs to appoint delegates if the delegate dies, resigns or is disqualified. The next constitution amendment is the one that they had to count all the "I's" and "Nay's." It had to do with our electors and having a proportionate allocation of national delegate votes for presidential candidates. It did not pass (I's 806, Nay's 1082). The last one we discussed was a bylaw amendment that would release our national delegation if the presidential candidate if the said candidate ceases to be a candidate or for any other reason releases the delegates. This motion was tabled indefinitely.

Other results:

Governor of the State of Utah

  • Jon Huntsman: 2271 votes (77.48 percent) He wins. No Primary.
  • Chuck Smith: 660 votes (22.52 percent)

Attorney General
Mark L. Shurtleff: by acclaimation

State Treasurer - This race will go to a primary election on June 24th.

  • Richard Ellis: 1235 votes (41.78 percent)
  • Mark Walker: 1721 (58.22 percent)

State Auditor
Auston Johnson: by acclaimation

National Committeeman:

  • Bruce Hough: 1373 (48.12 percent) He is the new National Committeeman.
  • Don Guymon: 1203 (42.17 percent)
  • Adam Peeples: 94 votes (3.29 percent)
  • Mike Ridgway: 183 (6.41 percent)

National Committeewoman:

  • Christy Henshaw: 1115 (38.51 percent)
  • Enid Greene Mickelsen: 1780 (61.49 percent) She is the new National Committeewoman.

Presidential Electors (representatives in the electoral college)

  • Mark Shurtleff - At Large
  • Enid Greene Mickelsen - At Large
  • Scott Simpson - CD1
  • Richard Snelgrove - CD2
  • Stan Lockhart - CD3

1 comment:

Lisa Shepherd said...

One thing I found quite FUN was the fact that most of our precinct delegates sat together and I got to sit with them.

I am not technically a precinct state delegate as I am the legislative district chair and am a "at large" state and county delegate from our district. However, I reside in PR20. My represenation should be that of the whole district, not just my immediate neighbors. So, I talk to many people in our district who are not delegates on a continual basis and try to get a feel for what they want.

As the "ledge chair", I was elected by the precinct chairs and vice chairs from all of district 61, plus the automatic delegates who are our elected officials.

One thing I found very interesting at the convention was when Stan Lockhart continued to give his speech after the one minute time limit was up and the crowd began yelling "NO" and he continued anyway. The crowd immediately once again began yelling "NO". Where it appeared that he called everyone else "out of order" when they didn't stop at one minute and then felt HE was entitled to speak as long as he desired, the crowd itself took care of this issue by telling HIM "no" themselves. It was pretty blanant and disrespectful to the rules.

It seemed that all of the state delegates from PR20 were in agreement with their perception of the way the leadership performed at the convention. Absolute power.

Something I found very questionable was the fact that Senator Bramble is NOT an elected "party leader" yet acts as one continually. This convention was no different. He was the credentials chair and was also a candidate on a ballot for National Delegate. To me it seems that it was completely inappropriate for him to act in this capacity. We do not see ANY other state elected officals up on stage running the show, it is alway Curt Bramble. I think it was a misjudgment on the party leadership's part to have a candidate who is NOT an ELECTED PARTY LEADER performing any major part of the convention functions or the microphone.

He, also, carried ballots for other delegates to the balloting boxes after the party allowed those ballots to be counted. He is a candidate and could have tampered with those ballots. I do not believe that there was not a poll watcher with him as he carried those ballots to the counting rooms. Was this an oversight????

I feel as the district leader that it is my responsibility to work hard for our delegates and district to have a fair election process. I also insist that all should be treated with respect and the upmost regard displayed for each delegate individually, including the one who had his elected state delegate position removed without notice from the party. Wrong! Who is next?