Importance of Utah in the 2020 election

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – As a state once disregarded by politicians, Utah is now in the spotlight for the 2020 presidential election.

“Historically, Utah has been a state in which candidates flew over from Denver to the Bay Area to Los Angeles. We were basically ignored,” explained Tim Chambless, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Utah. “But in recent years, because of certain members of Congress having important chairmanships, we’ve started to see that politicians have been stopping in Utah.”

Chambless says that isn’t the case anymore and the Beehive State is up for grabs.

“Utah is a state that while having the reputation of being controlled by one political party, still there’s diversity in this state, and in 2016 we saw where the Republican nominee did not gain 50-percent of the vote but won the election. He {President Donald Trump} didn’t win the majority of the vote,” Chambless explained.

The political science professor told ABC4 News, with Utah participating in Super Tuesday, the state has elevated itself.

“That’s going to have an impact. that will indicate the trend. If Super Tuesday doesn’t indicate the winner, it will certainly narrow — willow out the potential losers.”

With more eyes on Utah than ever before, Chambless says Utahns can expect to see more major-party candidates campaigning here, leading up to the election.

“We’ve seen Elizabeth Warren, we’ve seen Julio Castro, but we see Mayor Pete {Buttigieg} tonight. We’ve seen {Mike} Bloomberg already. I suspect we’ll see other candidates coming in. And Joe Biden was here on September 28, up in Park City.”

And with Utah’s population expected to nearly double by 2065, the professor expects the state to be a political heavyweight for years to come.

“That would mean presumably that rather than having just four house members, we may have as many as eight. We’ll still have our two senators and our electoral vote will probably improve from what it is now from six to about 10 in just the coming decades.”


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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...

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