This column could possibly be appearing in the Scroll, this coming issue (Tuesday, May 13).
Reminiscent of the atmosphere of a high school assembly, except a little louder, the Utah Republican Convention convened Sat., May 10 at 10 a.m.
This was not my introduction to the 2008 race, since I’d attended a lunch hosted by Chris Cannon with my dad -- who’s a state delegate and incredibly involved. He knew I’d just graduated with a degree in Communication and my emphasis in journalism. Oh, and that I’m insatiably curious, especially about how government runs.
It was a fascinating experience. The UVSC McKay Events Center was decked out in an advertiser’s dream: signs, booths and even golf carts bore marks of candidates. I wondered if the overwhelming barrage of names truly affected voters; I was of the opinion that it didn’t, but I’ll tell you what did affect them: the speeches of various candidates.
When talking to a neighbor and fellow delegate, we discussed the fact that each candidate for Congress had some sort of flaw that made them unappealing. But how do you decide which flaw is the worst? The neighbor had decided to keep his judgment on hold until the speeches, to see what they had to say, and vote based on the strength of their speaking.
The first couple of speeches by candidates for Congress were interesting; one focused on the fact that the United States was becoming the North American Union, with no borders between Canada or Mexico. Another talked of a Peacemaker Bill that didn’t make any sense. It kind of made me feel good to see that even if you’re a bit of a crazy, you can still run for office and get a forum for your ideas. The Convention is set up to weed those people out, but at least they get a chance to speak at all. My dad told me to run for the Senate you go down to a courthouse, fill out some paperwork and pay $50.
The other couple of speeches were by those who were the serious contenders for Congress: David Leavitt, Jason Chaffetz and Chris Cannon. In my mind, there was a clear winner if an award for the best speech could be given: Jason Chaffetz addressed issues, told people he wouldn‘t overspend, like he did with his campaign, and was overall the best speaker of the three.
I was amazed at the opposition against Chris Cannon -- people started booing when he was announced and continued to boo every chance they got. It reminded me of elementary school and made me wonder how people could be so disrespectful. Even if I didn’t agree with what someone was saying, I would never boo someone.
How old was this assembly anyway? Near the end of the day, when it had been going on seven hours, it became apparent that everyone had the attention span of 4-year-olds and I thought pitchforks and torches were going to come out if they were made to wait any longer.
The race was close against Chaffetz and Cannon; so much so that a third round of voting needed to take place to see if there would be a state Republican primary. My dad stayed to the last round, casting his vote and being one to decide if there would be a primary election between the two, which ended up being the case. If a candidate wins 60 percent of the vote, there isn’t a primary. Chaffetz won 59 percent of the vote, helping Cannon squeak by to a primary.
Through it all, I was wondering how to know what to believe what these people were telling me. Will they do what they say? Should we give someone a chance who has never been to Congress or give someone who has experience another four years in office to possibly use their seniority as a plus? I guess once they find out how to tell if people mean what they’re saying, it will be the millennium -- until that point, it’s up to us to figure it out. So go out and vote!