A new Dan Jones & Associates poll for the Utah Policy Institute finds former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney holding a commanding lead over the man who topped him in the April 21st Utah Republican state convention. The poll (5/15-25; 295 UT likely Republican primary voters) gives Mr. Romney a 67-24% lead over three-term state Representative and physician Mike Kennedy (R-Alpine). The survey, however, has major methodological flaws. The sampling period is approximately three times too long, and the respondent group size much too small for a statewide campaign. Still, the margin is so overwhelming that there can be little doubt Mr. Romney holds a substantial lead for the June 26th Republican primary.
The Utah Republican Party nominating convention was held over the weekend, and former presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R), who is viewed to be a lock to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) in November, failed to place first among delegates and is now headed to a June 26th Republican primary election with state Rep. Mike Kennedy, a Lindon physician. The vote was 51-49% in Dr. Kennedy’s favor after multiple rounds of voting eliminated ten others, but a candidate must obtain 60% delegate support to win the nomination outright.
Despite his convention performance, which actually was expected, Mr. Romney remains the heavy favorite to win the party primary, and the general election. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R), who was honored at the state convention, is retiring after 42 years of service.
Also, at the Utah Republican Party nominating convention, freshman Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo), who won the 2017 special election to succeed resigned Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R), failed to win re-nomination outright. Needing 60% to avoid a primary, Mr. Curtis received 59% of the delegate vote. In the special election, Rep. Curtis, then the Mayor of Provo, bypassed the party district nominating convention and qualified for the ballot via petition.
For the special election, as in voting on Saturday, 3rd District delegates gave significant support to former state Rep. Chris Herrod. Though winning the special convention vote, he managed to just barely gain enough support this time to force Rep. Curtis into an election. The Congressman is again favored to win the succeeding primary, which is tantamount to re-election in the fall.
The Mellman Group, polling for Democratic congressional candidate and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (2/27-3/4; 400 UT-4 likely voters), finds that Rep. Mia Love’s (R-Saratoga Springs) margin is only 43-40% if the general election were held in the present time frame. Several other polls have been conducted over the past several weeks, with each projecting Love with a similar tight edge. We can expect this to be a competitive campaign in the fall, even considering Utah’s strong Republican voting history.
Newly elected Rep. John Curtis (R-Provo), who won a November special election to replace resigned Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R), will likely face primary competition against the man whom convention delegates endorsed in the special election. Former state Rep. Chris Herrod, who won the nominating convention endorsement last year, filed to run again.
Because he will likely be strong in the nominating convention once more, Rep. Curtis is both participating in the convention process and announced he will circulate petitions to qualify. A candidate must receive at least 40% of the convention delegate vote to proceed to a primary. If one receives 60%, the individual is either nominated outright or advances to a primary election against only candidates who have qualified via ballot petition.
Rep. Curtis is likely to win re-election, but it won’t be surprising to see him again do battle with Mr. Herrod in the Republican primary before advancing to an easy general election race.
Yesterday was the deadline to file to run for political office in Utah, and it is now clear that former presidential nominee and Massachusetts Governor will not have a free ride in this year’s Senate Republican primary. Though nine Republicans have announced their candidacies to oppose Romney, one individual with an electoral record has just stepped forward.
State Rep. Mike Kennedy (R-Lindon), a practicing physician and three-term state Representative, announced his candidacy and will ostensibly oppose Mr. Romney. It is clear that Rep. Kennedy is the former presidential nominee’s most substantial Republican opponent, but it is highly unlikely that he, or anyone else, will deny Mr. Romney the Senate nomination. In the general election, his eventual opponent is likely to be Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson (D). Mr. Romney is the prohibitive favorite to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R).
Local Salt Lake City pollster Dan Jones & Associates (2/9-21; 404 UT-4 registered voters) released another survey in their ongoing testing of the impending campaign between Rep. Mia Love (R-Saratoga Springs) and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D). As has been the case in previous polls, Rep. Love maintains a lead but the results are close. According to their February release, the Congresswoman leads Mr. McAdams, 49-43%, which is almost identical to the group’s January survey that found Rep. Love up 47-42%.
John Sittner, who founded the nationally known Ancestry.com company, has filed a congressional campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission. Though he has not yet announced that he is an official candidate, he has certainly taken the first step toward becoming one. Mr. Sittner, registered as an Independent, hopes to challenge three-term Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Farmington/Salt Lake City) in the general election. President Trump carried the expansive 2nd District, 46-27% with Independent Evan McMillan receiving a substantial 21.5% of the vote.
Former presidential nominee and ex-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) has scheduled an announcement in Salt Lake City for February 15th. It is highly likely that he will be declaring his candidacy for retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R) seat. Mr. Romney will immediately become the prohibitive favorite to capture the seat, and it’s unlikely he will draw major opposition.
Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson (D) entered the race to challenge Sen. Hatch, but it is believed she will remain a candidate even if facing Mr. Romney. An early poll found Mr. Romney crushing her by better than a 3:1 margin. Though he is not expected to face major Republican opposition, it appears that a Romney for Senate Campaign will petition onto the ballot and bypass the Republican State Party nominating convention, thus ensuring that no base challenger can whip up enough support among delegates to cause him political embarrassment.
A new Dan Jones & Associates survey (1/15-22; 400 UT-4 registered voters) provides more evidence that Rep. Mia Love (R-Saratoga Springs) has a re-election fight on her hands. According to the Jones’ organization, Rep. Love would hold only a 47-42% advantage over Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams (D). A similar poll taken three months ago, also from DJ & A, found an almost identical 48-42% split.
Though Rep. Love has won two elections in Utah’s 4th CD, her 50.9 and 53.8% victory percentages, along with losing in 2012 when GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney simultaneously recorded a huge 67.2 percentage, suggest that her base is weaker than one normally sees for a Utah Republican incumbent.
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