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Bennett Faltering as Convention Nears

May 4, 2010    Content provided by DDC Advocacy

Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio citizens are not the only voters going to the polls this week. On Saturday, May 8th, the Utah Republican convention meets to nominate its candidates for federal and state offices. With polls revealing three-term Sen. Bob Bennett trailing badly as delegate voting approaches (for example, the latest Mason-Dixon Polling & Research data shows him in third place with only 16% of the vote), the Beehive State GOP certainly seems poised to turn to another nominee. Candidates must secure at least 40% of the convention vote to force a two-person primary. A contender is nominated if, at any time during the process, 60% of the vote is obtained.

The Republican Party, which controls the GOP nominating process and not the State Elections Board, allows only two candidates to access a primary ballot. Should Bennett lose the convention, his next step would be to run as a write-in candidate during the general election. The Senator's two major opponents are Salt Lake City attorney and former gubernatorial aide Mike Lee and business consultant Tim Bridgewater, a two-time congressional candidate. The Mason-Dixon poll (4/26-28) of 400 convention delegates (there are a total of 3,500) gave Lee 37% and Bridgewater 20%. Expanded to include 215 Utah Republican primary voters, the picture dramatically changes. If rank and file Republicans have a chance to vote, Bennett could survive. He would command 39% of the primary vote, versus 20% for Lee. Bridgewater, in this configuration, has 14%.

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