Pros, cons of a virtual convention as opposed to one in-person

Jun 27, 2023, 7:30 PM

Delegates stand for the national anthem during the Utah Republican Party’s special election at De...

Delegates stand for the national anthem during the Utah Republican Party’s special election at Delta High School in Delta on June 24, 2023. Democrats will hold a virtual convention on Wednesday, June 28, 2023. Photo credit: Ryan Sun, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — In the lead-up to Utah’s special election to fill the 2nd Congressional District seat, Republicans and Democrats are differing in the ways they hold their conventions to select a candidate. Last weekend, the Republicans held an in-person convention in Delta. On Wednesday evening, the Democrats will hold a virtual state convention.

The GOP selected Celeste Maloy as its candidate on the ballot.

Utah Republican Party chairman Robert Axson and Jeff Merchant, former chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, explained to KSL NewsRadio the differences and the advantages of each.

Axson is asked why the GOP decided to hold its convention in Delta.

Axson says the 2nd Congressional District is larger than 14 states in the United State.

“And so, it’s a very big geographical footprint,” he said. “And you know, a delegate that is Kane County, or Kanab or Panguitch or over in St. George, they have just as much of a right to have the ability to conveniently get to a convention as somebody from Salt Lake.”

He says Delta was selected because it was near the center of the congressional district.

So, why have the convention in person?

“I just think that there’s power in doing things face to face,” Axson said. “And I think there’s a degree of camaraderie and collaboration that can only come from the proximity of relationships that are done in person when you sit down and break bread with somebody, when you have a difficult conversation with somebody, when you share a laugh with somebody, all of those are things that when happening in person, complex situations become a little bit easier to resolve.”

Merchant was chair of the Utah Democratic Party during the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the conventions were online. 

Virtual and in-person convention

He says the party held its regular state convention last month in Cedar City. It was held both in-person and virtually.

However, Merchant understands the reasoning for holding Wednesday’s convention online.

“I mean, obviously, it makes sense to an extent given the size and scope of the district,” he said.

Merchant was asked if a lot of people from northern Utah traveled to the convention in Cedar City?

“I think there was a lot of concern that wouldn’t happen,” he said. “And I would say to an extent people from the north did not come down. But it’s hard to say too, because it was kind of a hybrid model that was used.”

He said the convention was available to watch online, and electronic voting was used.

KSL NewsRadio’s Derek Brown, who served as chairman of the Utah GOP at the same time Merchant was the Utah Democratic Party chairman, pointed out an observation.

“I mean you can disagree all day long on policy,” Brown said. “But when it comes to civility and treating each other as friends, I think there’s a whole world of possibility there that I think we sometimes miss in an online sort of social media setting.”

“I agree with that a lot,” Merchant said. “I mean, look, this is a country where we are supposed to disagree about things, right? … But I also think there are things that are, that go a little deeper than that. Civility is certainly one of those.”

For the Democrats, Wednesday’s virtual convention will begin at 6 p.m.

Listen to the entire segment.


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

We want to hear from you.

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

Dave & Dujanovic

UTA Frontrunner commuter rail. UTA Plans to address delays by updating cars and adding a new line t...

Curt Gresseth

UTA boss talks about train delays, says improvements coming

Despite frustrating delays, UTA has a 90 percent "on-time" record, says the executive officer.

6 hours ago

social media...

Curt Gresseth and Don Brinkerhoff

Senate committee OK changes to Utah’s Social Media Regulations Act

A Utah lawmaker discusses his social media bill aimed to protect children while parents and a teen testify about loss of a son to suicide and the pain of addiction.

4 days ago

The IRS is writing checks for smaller tax refunds this year, but a Utah expert says it's still earl...

Curt Gresseth

Tax refunds are about 30% smaller than last year — but it’s early

The IRS is writing checks for smaller tax refunds this year, but it's still early in the tax season.

6 days ago

secret spending...

Curt Gresseth

Are you hiding secret spending from your spouse?

Are you a secret spender in a relationship? A national expert on personal finance offers help for couples caught up in financial infidelity.

8 days ago

Utah's First Lady Abby Cox will host the second annual Show up for Teachers Conference on Wednesday...

Curt Gresseth

Governor encouraging couples to check out virtual date night — tonight

The governor and first lady invite Utah couples to enjoy the fun of a virtual date night while learning how to make a marriage grow strong over time.

11 days ago

A Cuban woman and her daughter wait in line to be escorted to a Border Patrol van for processing in...

Curt Gresseth

Rep. Moore explains his ‘no’ vote on Mayorkas impeachment

Utah Republican Rep. Blake Moore explains why he switched his yes vote to no during the impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

13 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Pros, cons of a virtual convention as opposed to one in-person