Utah County to be well represented at GOP convention

2012-08-27T00:30:00Z 2012-09-26T06:15:15Z Utah County to be well represented at GOP conventionBilly Hesterman - Daily Herald Daily Herald
August 27, 2012 12:30 am  • 

Utah County will be well represented this week when, if all goes as planned, Mitt Romney accepts the Republican nomination to be the party's candidate for president of the United States.

At least 14 Utah County Republicans are either national delegates or alternate national delegates for the GOP convention being held in Tampa, Fla.

"This is the very first convention I've ever been a part of," said Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, an alternate delegate at the convention. "I'm looking forward to it."

Grover is joined by other Utah County Republicans like Gov. Gary Herbert and his wife Jeanette, House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, Eagle Forum leader Gayle Ruzicka, state tea party leader David Kirkham, state Senate candidate Deidre Henderson and a few others from Utah's second largest county for the convention.

Utah has 37 total votes when the nominating process begins. Utah's delegation in Tampa is actually double that size, though, as alternate delegates also were selected and have traveled to the convention just in case one of the main delegates needs to leave.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love both are expected to speak at the convention. Chaffetz was originally scheduled to speak on Monday but on Sunday he said that with the party canceling the first day of the convention, due to Hurricane Isaac, that he could end up speaking during the day on Tuesday.

"We are a little unsure of what may happen; I may speak on Tuesday," Chaffetz said. "Hopefully I'll get to do it, if not I totally understand."

While the convention organizers scramble to squeeze four days of convention into three days, Love's team says they expect her speech to still happen in prime time on Tuesday night. Ann Romney, Romney's wife, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are expected to be the headliners on Tuesday night; Love is expected to speak before them.

Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, has been in Tampa for more than a week. Dayton was endorsed by the Romney team to serve as one of Utah's two representatives on the party's platform committee. Dayton served on the subcommittee on Restoring Constitutional Government for the platform. Her committee addressed a 2nd Amendment issue for concealed carry permits to be recognized from state to state. They also discussed the conservative party's position on marriage and abortion.

Utah's delegates will have prime seats at the convention. The Romney camp appears to have rewarded Utah for its continuous support of Romney, as Utah's spot on the floor is just stage left of the podium, about a dozen rows from the front. Four years ago Utah was said to have one of the poorer spots in the house on the floor. Romney won Utah's GOP presidential primary in 2008 -- Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign placed Utah in the less than desirable spot for that convention.

Delegates are expected to pay their own way to the event. The Utah delegation was assigned to stay at the Airport Hilton in Tampa by the Republican National Committee. In addition to attending the convention, delegates plan to participate in service projects, policy meetings and luncheons hosted by Utah's elected officials.

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