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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