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Gov. Herbert says caucus-convention system needs to be reviewed

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Salt Lake City, Utah- (ABC4 Utah) – The special primary election in Utah’s 3rd Congressional District is reigniting the debate over the caucus-convention system.

Provo Mayor John Curtis ran away with the primary election. He won by double digits, but he came in fifth at convention. Some say that shows delegates are out of touch.

The latest numbers show Curtis with 43% of the vote, compared to 32% for Chris Herrod and 24% for Tanner Ainge.

That means 68% of the primary vote went against Herrod, the choice of delegates at convention.

Some say it’s another example of how the system has strayed from its purpose. That includes the top republican office holder in the state.

“It’s supposed to be representatives of your neighborhood showing up, and they should represent the neighborhood that they come from. Unfortunately, over the last few years things have changed. We have, in fact people who spend a lot of money trying to stack the delegates,” said Governor Gary Herbert, (R) Utah.

Just last year, Herbert lost at convention by 10 percentage points, only to win the primary by more than 40 percentage points.

He says his race and others are proof of a delegate disconnect.

“I think it needs to be reviewed, I think that’s part of what happened with SB54, who knows what’s going to happen here going forward,” said Herbert.

One thing that is going forward, is those behind Count My Vote are looking into their options.

ABC4 Utah is told they are meeting to consider a ballot initiative, similar to the one from 2013.

That’s what lead to the SB54 compromise.

Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Writer Michelle Quist Mumford defends the system. She says in the case of the 3rd District primary, it’s simplistic to conclude delegates are out of touch.

“There were things that went into that. The caucus system is meant to produce two candidates, and usually it’s a moderate and a more conservative candidate. In this instance they changed the rule, and only moved one forward,” she said.

Count My Vote backers are meeting regularly, but say they have not committed to moving forward with a new initiative just yet. 

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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 Utah team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 Utah News at 4 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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