Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will face a number of unhappy delegates at Utah's Republican state convention next week, according to The Salt Lake Tribune columnist Robert Gehrke.
Although Romney has already accumulated the necessary amount of signatures to appear on the GOP primary ballot to replace Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, a large amount of "notoriously prickly delegates" seem unconvinced that he's the night choice.
"It's a mixed bag,” Rod Arquette, conservative radio host on KNRS, told Gehrke about what he's heard people say about Romney. "Listeners raise the same questions: Romney and Romneycare, his attack on President [Donald] Trump during the campaign, the carpetbagger [issue].”
Arquette added that despite their reservations, he noticed at the Davis County Republican Convention that people seem drawn to Romney.
"I think that is the most interesting issue, and I can't say yea or nay, to be real honest,” he added.
According to Gehrke, most GOP insiders in Utah predict Romney could win over 60 percent of delegates to secure the nomination, but he may come in second to another candidate.
Romney is repeatedly attacked in a private Facebook group for roughly 700 state delegates, who contend that he's weak on the 2nd Amendment, aloof and unwilling to answer questions. Candidates further to the right of Romney, such as state Rep. Michael Kennedy, attorney Larry Meyers and the Trump-supporting outsider Sam Parker, are frequently praised in the group.
"From a practical standpoint, it probably doesn't matter whether Romney gets 60 percent,” Gehrke notes. "With his money and his name recognition, Mighty Mitt is practically a lock to win a primary fight, if he has to. But a poor showing Saturday could knock some of the luster off the Golden Boy and push the convention system even further toward irrelevance.”
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