By Brandon Loran Maxwell
“It” scores provided by Salt Lake City-based social media polling group, PoliticIt, correctly forecasted each of Utah’s top GOP and DNC convention winners Saturday. The convention, which garnered outside attention from media and special interest groups alike, highlighted a hotly contested senate race between 36 year incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch and Tea-Party-backed newcomer Dan Liljenquist.
Hatch, despite procuring a coveted Mitt Romney endorsement, as well as leading an aggressive “time to lead” add campaign, found himself frustratingly mired at 59.1 percent, merely 50 votes shy of the 60 percent needed to bypass a primary run-off.
Likewise, PoliticIt’s “It” scores foresaw impending gubernatorial nominee Gov. Gary Herbert, 1st district nominee Rep. Rob Bishop, and 3rd district nominee Rep. Jason Chaffetz. All-in-all, a total of 3,989 GOP delegates were up for grabs.
Across the aisle, Democratic congressional contenders Donna McAlleer and Ryan Combe finished within a scant 1 ½ percent of each other. The two will now go onto to compete in June’s primary. The winner will advance to face Bishop for Utah’s congressional 1st district in September.
Additionally, Jay Seegmiller received 62% of the delegate vote to become congressional 2rddistrict’s DNC nominee, while Soren Simonsen received 77% of the delegate vote to become congressional 3rd district’s DNC nominee.
As with Republicans, the race for Senate was the most watched race of the weekend, though. Former Utah Senate Minority Leader, Scott Howell, didn’t just comfortably edge out rival, Pete Ashdown, 63% to 36%, but in doing so, created the interesting possibility for a 2000 rematch against Hatch.
“I think people in this state are ready for something new,” Combe told Fox13nowwhen asked about renewed interest in Utah’s Democratic Party. According to the Utah Democratic Party, a record 2,537 delegates were registered for the DNC convention this caucus season.
Alternatively, a substantial percentage of Republicans both inside and outside of Utah appear less concerned with adding to the ranks and more concerned with decontaminating what they already have. According to Politico, as of March, FreedomWorks had spent more than $615,000 to help defeat Hatch who they believe typifies “expansive government.” An accusation Hatch vehemently refutes.
Brandon Loran Maxwell is a contributing political writer/analyst at PoliticIt, a contributing national affairs editor to Street Motivation Magazine, and a CC at Students for Liberty.