Utah GOP selects Sen. Mike Lee as nominee; Mike Lee still faces primary

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Perhaps the only intrigue entering the Utah Republican Party’s state convention was how strongly delegates would applaud Sen. Mike Lee — despite his recently leaked White House text messages — and whether Rep. John Curtis would survive.

The answer to the first question came quickly. Many of the 3,690 delegates gave Lee a standing ovation when he took the stage. They also clarified that he was their preferred candidate with almost 71% of the vote, which would have propelled him into the general election in November if two of his opponents had not already forced him into a primary.

Still, Lee is seen as the party’s nominee.

Former state legislator Becky Edwards and community and business leader Ally Isom have already qualified for the primary election by collecting signatures, as has Lee, in the two-way nomination process. Utah candidates.

On the second question, Curtis barely made it through the convention and will face Chris Herrod for the third time since 2017.

The 2022 primary marks the fourth time Herrod and Curtis will meet. Herrod beat Curtis in a race at Utah House years ago.

Lee told delegates that Republicans have a lot to offer because they respect the Constitution.

“The price to live in Joe Biden’s America is way, way too high,” he said. “Biden wants to open our borders, we say no. Biden wants to push for more terms and pack the Supreme Court, we say no.

Lee said CRT, ESG and MSNBC are “way too BS,” referring to critical race theory, a credit rating system that includes environmental, social and governance indicators, and cable media.

Senate candidate Becky Edwards addresses delegates during the GOP State Convention at the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Adam Fondren, for the Deseret News

Edwards, who garnered nearly 12% of the delegate vote, said his focus had always been the primary election.

“We’re really excited,” she said.

During her travels across the state, Edwards said she repeatedly heard people say that Congress was broken and that Lee was contributing to the divisive impasse. Utahans, she said, want to see something better.

“I want to see a future where we celebrate solutions more than sound bites, a future where asking pointed questions is more important than pointing fingers,” she said in her speech.

Edwards drew loud boos when she said Lee failed to deliver on her campaign promises. While that message didn’t resonate with delegates, she said she expects it will resonate with Utah voters in general.

Isom, who won just under 10 percent of the vote, told delegates they needed to reclaim “what makes us Republicans.” Buzzwords and burning questions will make people angry at the government, the media and at each other, she said.

“I understand the anger. We want our country back,” she said. “Join our Republican renaissance. Cast off the fear. Cast off anger.

1st Congressional District

André Badger fell just short of the 60% vote needed to become the Republican nominee in the 1st District, but won his place in what will be a three-way primary election.

Badger, who describes himself as a “strong conservative,” says he will join the House Freedom Caucus, if elected. It is considered the most conservative bloc in the House Republican Conference.

A graduate of Harvard and Oxford, he recently worked as a risk manager for a management consulting firm and served as an intelligence officer for the US Defense Intelligence Agency.

First-year student Representative Blake Moore and challenge Tina Canona former Morgan County Councilman who already qualified for the primary through signature collection.

2nd congressional district

Delegates overwhelmingly chose incumbent Rep. Chris Stewart as the GOP nominee in the 2nd District with nearly 85% of the vote. Challenger Erin Rider, a Salt Lake lawyer, got 15% of the vote.

Still, Stewart will face a primary election for the first time since being elected a decade ago. Rider collected signatures ahead of the convention to secure a spot on the primary ballot. Stewart said he had never collected signatures and never would, telling delegates he trusted them.

3rd congressional district

Curtis, who served in Congress for 4 12 years, will face Herrod for the third time since 2017. Curtis defeated Herrod in a three-way special election in 2017 and in a primary in 2018. Curtis did not have a primary in 2020.

The 2022 primary marks the fourth time Herrod and Curtis will meet. Herrod beat Curtis in a race at Utah House years ago.

“It’s deja vu,” Curtis said. “Chris wants to serve in my place, so he keeps running against me.”

Curtis held 40 meetings with delegates prior to the convention. They expressed frustration and anger at the way things are going in Washington, DC, he said.

While Herrod fared well with delegates, who tend to be more conservative than most Utah Republicans, Curtis fared better in the primary election.

“I don’t take anything for granted. We will work hard. We have to earn every vote,” he said.

Herrod, who jumped into the race just before the filing deadline, said he was ready to face Curtis again. He said he had good grassroots support and is looking forward to the race. Herrod said delegates understood the conservative message. And now that Curtis is in power, he has a voting record.

“It’s very different on the issues that I would have voted on,” Herrod said, citing Curtis’ vote for a committee of inquiry on Jan. 6, among other things. “I think we will have a good debate and it will be competitive.”

4th congressional district

First-year student Representative Burgess Owens is the preferred candidate of the delegates, winning just over 68% of the vote. Still, he and Jake Hunsaker, who works in business analysis and operations management, will face off in a primary election. As Hunsaker collected signatures to appear on the ballot, Owens signed up to do so but gave no names. He relied on congress delegates to push it through.

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