Most Republican candidates to be eliminated after GOP Special Convention Saturday

Jun 21, 2023, 7:00 PM | Updated: Jun 27, 2023, 3:27 pm

Left to right: Scott Hatfield, Greg Hughes, Becky Edwards, Jordan Hess, Kathleen Anderson, Scott Re...

Left to right: Scott Hatfield, Greg Hughes, Becky Edwards, Jordan Hess, Kathleen Anderson, Scott Reber, Henry Eyring, Celeste Maloy, Bruce Hough, Not pictured: Quin Denning, Bill Hoster. Not in attendance: Ty Jensen. Photo credit: Lindsay Aerts, KSL NewsRadio.

SALT LAKE CITY  — This Saturday, Republican delegates from Utah’s 2nd Congressional District will convene at Delta High School for the Utah Republican Party’s special convention. The purpose of the convention is to select a nominee who will appear on the special election ballot.

Out of the 13 Republicans running for the position, eight are in a do-or-die situation where they must secure the party’s top spot, or their dreams of succeeding Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, will come to an end.

According to the rules of this special election, only one candidate can be nominated by each party’s convention. Therefore, those who did not gather signatures must win at their respective conventions. If they fail to do so, they will not qualify for the special election ballot.

Eight Republican candidates take the convention-only path

Out of the 13 total candidates in the race, eight of the Republicans have chosen to take this convention-only path.

These candidates include Greg Hughes, Celeste Maloy, Jordan Hess, Quin Denning, Ty Jensen, Kathlene Anderson, Bill Hoster, and Henry Eyring.

If one of the eight candidates secures the top spot and qualifies for the ballot, the GOP field will be reduced to a total of six candidates – five who gathered signatures and the convention winner.

However, if a convention candidate who is also gathering signatures such as Becky Edwards, Bruce Hough, Scott Hattfield, or Scott Reber wins at the convention, they will spoil the run for the top eight.

The party nomination will go to them, and those who chose to go the convention-only route will have no other path to the ballot.

This unlikely scenario would reduce the field of 13 candidates to five. Other signature-gathering candidates have until July 5 to obtain the required 7,000 signatures from registered Republicans in CD2.

“This process on Saturday (will) identify who we want to be our standard bearer,” said Party Chair Robert Axson. 

One candidate, Remy Bubba Kush, stands out in the race as a signature-only candidate despite filing for both paths. According to Axson, the party has disqualified him from the convention path and he has not been responding to any party communication or attempts to be contacted by KSL NewsRadio.

Who will take the top spot?

To maintain impartiality, Axson could not say if delegates are favoring a specific candidate.

“We certainly have some of the candidates who are better known than others, and they’ve been around longer and they’ve been involved in the party longer, and that certainly is an advantage to them, but sometimes people like an outsider too,” he said.

While he could not predict who might come out on top, he did allude to having an “educated guess” based on the engagement of the delegates that he’s witnessed. 

“But, I believe in the delegate system, and I believe the power of delegates to engage and maybe change their minds (in between each voting round),” he said.

The special convention election process for the GOP involves several rounds of voting, with candidate speeches interspersed between each round. Following each round, the candidate with the least number of votes is removed, and a new ballot is cast until there is a winner.

Related: Utah Republican Party announces debate schedule for 2nd Congressional District seat


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Most Republican candidates to be eliminated after GOP Special Convention Saturday