Surge of moderate GOP delegates hurts Utah's most conservative
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah: In a recent reversal in Utah, one of the country's most conservative states, legislators who rank among the most conservative have been defeated in convention or forced into primary battles far more often than usual.
Among those who have lost are the following:
- Representative Kenneth Sumsion, ranked as Utah's most conservative legislator, was rejected by the state Republican convention in his race for governor.
- Representative Craig Frank, ranked as the number 2 conservative, was rejected at the Utah County GOP convention in his race for State Senate.
- Representative Christopher Herrod lost his race for U.S. Senate.
- Former rep. Stephen Sandstrom lost in his race for Congress.
- Rep. Merlynn Newbold lost his re-election bid to the state House at the Salt Lake County GOP convention.
This has been referred to as the Orrin Hatch effect. This is in reference to Senator Hatch's spending of millions to recruit people to party caucuses in an attempt to replace the former conservative delegates so that he would not be ousted by tea partyers and other conservatives.
As a result, caucus attendance increased dramatically and Hatch survived the GOP convention. As a side-effect, the influx of more moderate conservatives also significantly hurt the ultraconservative representatives.