Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald
Across the state and county, Utah Republicans gathered in their neighborhoods to discuss the party platform and precinct officers heading to the state convention.
For the first time since 2018, party caucuses were held, with an attendance that county party chairman Skyler Beltran considered typical for a non-presidential year.
“We have seen good turnout across the department. It’s great to see so many people willing to serve and make a difference in their community. The (thriving) Republican Party in Utah County,” he said.
Despite the snow, residents came out to make their voices heard at the rallies — the first step in the fast-paced process to decide Republican candidates in a state represented almost entirely by the GOP at all levels of government.
Residents took to social media throughout the night to share their experiences at different caucus locations. Sarah Haley Nitta tweeted that there were 11 people at her caucus in Cedar Hills and that, according to the speaker of the precinct, there were 120 people at the last caucus in 2018.
Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald
Saratoga Springs resident Cameron Robinson, in a thread shared during caucus, said his ward president and vice president are wards from Idaho and Missouri, respectively.
At the end, Robinson tweeted, “And we’re done. 30 people, 1h30. The caucus has changed.
According to Beltran, having a number of top races helps boost participation. He named the U.S. Senate race, led by incumbent Senator Mike Lee, as the most enthusiastic race. Beltran also called it “exciting” to have two different races for the county commission in the same election cycle, enough to have a majority of the body, and pointed to unusually high focus on the three-way race for district attorney. county.
For one neighborhood in Provo, a caucus night meant a gathering of 10 people at a restaurant under construction on Center Street. Sitting on chairs borrowed from the stake center, party leaders walked the platform and discussed important issues – vote security, Ukraine, gas prices, and more. – before voting on the direction of the constituency.
Leading the conversation for Provo Precinct 365 was Vickie Wilker, the caucus chair who was re-elected to the position on Tuesday.
Addressing the small gathering, Wilker said she hoped to increase the size of the group by the next caucus in 2024. “Start spreading the word. Right now,” Wilker said.
Although there was no discussion of specific candidates for the position at the meeting, Wilker and Eric Speckhard, the precinct’s state delegate, felt it was nonetheless productive and a great way. to let delegates get a sense of their neighbors’ feelings before the conventions. They can use the conversations as a basis for determining who to support for a position that best reflects their constituency’s leanings.
Before the meeting ended, there was an informal conversation about voting in Utah. Many of the caucus participants, however, agreed that voting should be done in person on Election Day – some for the thrill, others for the alleged and unsubstantiated risks associated with mail-in voting.
In the northern parts of the county, some precincts participated in a pilot program to vote on leadership throughout the evening, as opposed to having a single vote at once during the meeting. According to Beltran, comments showed an average caucus time of between an hour and 90 minutes.
The county convention will be held at Eagle Mountain High School on April 9 and the state convention will be on April 23.