One Republican will know Saturday if they qualify for CD2 special election ballot, here’s how they’ll get elected

Jun 22, 2023, 6:09 PM

utah 2020 debates...

FILE -- Former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright takes notes during a Utah gubernatorial Republican primary debate at the PBS Utah studio at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Monday, June 1, 2020. By the end of the day Saturday, one Republican candidate will become the first person to qualify for the Congressional District 2 special election ballot. Photo: Ivy Ceballo, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — By the end of the day Saturday, one Republican candidate will become the first person to qualify for the Congressional District 2 (CD2) special election ballot. Utah’s Republican Party is electing that person via their special convention on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Delta High School.

The winner will then compete in a primary election on Sept. 5 to earn a spot in the general election to replace Congressman Chris Stewart. However, a primary will only be necessary if there are other Republican candidates who qualify for the ballot via signatures.  

13 Republicans are running for the seat. The majority of those people will be eliminated Saturday. Eight of the 13 candidates are in a must-win situation. They are solely going Utah’s convention path to the ballot.

How will the GOP election work?

GOP Party Chair Robert Axson tells KSL NewsRadio CD2 delegates will vote via “phones or other electronic devices” similar to conventions past. 

“It should be the same secure voting system used at the last convention where it’s anonymous and secure,” he said.

Some delegates in conventions after the 2020 election cycle were leery of voting through technology, some past GOP conventions have used paper and balloting boxes to vote.

Rounds and rounds of voting

All 12 GOP candidates participating in the convention will first give a speech. Then delegates will vote amongst them all. The lowest vote-getter, or vote-getters, are eliminated. 

Axson said the party allows for multiple candidates to fall off the ballot if their percentages don’t equal the percentage of candidates ahead of them.

For example, if Candidate A gets 1% of the vote, and Candidate B gets 2% of the vote, but Candidate C gets 6% of the vote, then candidates A and B would be eliminated in the same round.   

“So in that first round, and sometimes potentially in that second round, you could see more than one person come off,” Axson said.

However, that doesn’t happen as much in the later rounds, Axson added.

After each round of voting, the remaining candidates give another round of speeches and then there’s another round of votes.

“We feel especially in a truncated time frame,” Axson said. “It’s important for these delegates to hear from these candidates as frequently and often as possible.” 

The voting rounds continue until there’s a winner.

Because so many of the GOP candidates chose the convention-only route, by the end of this convention the total field of 13 Republicans will likely get cut to six. That will include the person who wins at the convention plus the five other candidates who still have a chance to qualify for the ballot by gathering signatures.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

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One Republican will know Saturday if they qualify for CD2 special election ballot, here’s how they’ll get elected