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Utah Senate Convention Wrap-Up: Jason Walton Secures Spot on Primary Ballot



The Utah Senate seat remains up for grabs as five GOP candidates gear up for a closely contested primary.


Utah’s Senate convention has come to a close. While Democrat Caroline Gleich clenched her Party’s support with 92.5% of the vote, Republicans are still looking at a crowded field. Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, U.S. Rep. John Curtis, former Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson, business magnate Jason Walton, and lawyer Brent Orrin Hatch all qualified for a spot on the June primary ballot. Seven others have withdrawn or were disqualified.


This news is coupled by the results of a recent survey by Noble Predictive Insights which found that 41% of Republican voters were "not sure" who among the GOP candidates they would vote for. This suggests that while Staggs was technically the top vote-getter, the race is still very much up for grabs.


"Although Utah is a reliably red state, it is not just one shade of red," Noble wrote. "Exactly half of Utah’s GOP electorate is party-first, identifying as supporters of the Republican Party, compared to only 35% who are Trump-first, aligning themselves with Donald Trump… A majority (58%) of GOP voters seek a candidate who is Trump-adjacent yet willing to challenge Trump when necessary."


“Even among voters who currently have a preferred candidate, two-thirds remain open to changing their minds, indicating that this race is wide open for contenders.”

 

Moxie Pest Control CEO Jason Walton, who has in recent months emerged as something of a dark horse candidate, remains not only undeterred but optimistic. His performance at the convention resonated with a significant and growing segment of the Republican base which finds itself increasingly disillusioned with politics—and, thus, drawn to candidates outside the traditional political establishment. 


“I’m a political outsider. Nobody has their hooks on me. I can’t be bought; I can’t be bullied; and I have no sense of political self-preservation,” said Walton during his speech before the delegates. “Stand with me… and we will save America.”


“My highlight of the day was having an amazing talk with Jason Walton, who is running for Senate. It was great,” said attendee Anne Savage, an adjunct professor of American Government and International Relations at the University of Utah. “I love Utah politics. Go America. We still believe!”


Indeed, Walton has packaged his lack of prior political experience as one of his key strengths. He has taken jabs at candidates who “come with strings attached” and who “owe political favors to people.” This may or may not be an indirect jab at competitor Brad Wilson, who has famously been accused by a former business partner of leveraging his position in the U.S. House of Representatives to pursue sweetheart deals


As the dust settles from the convention and the focus shifts to the primary, Walton’s candidacy continues to attract attention and intrigue. Whoever can maintain momentum and secure a victory in June remains to be seen. However, Walton’s progress could suggest that he is very much a contender for Romney’s seat. 


The primary election will take place on June 25, 2024. The winning candidates will advance to the November 5, 2024 general election, the outcome of which determines who will fill the Class I Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R).

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