Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Both Utah Democrats and Republicans Appear Headed for March 22 Caucuses

Though the date(s) probably have not changed (internally with the state parties), the mode of delegate selection and the timing of those events in Utah seems close to set for 2016. Beehive state Democrats have come to the conclusion that the party will not be able to fund an online presidential primary next year. Utah Republicans are set to make a run at an online option for nomination process but as part of a caucuses/convention process.

With the online presidential primary out, Utah Democrats will now caucus in 2016, and according to Lisa Riley Roche at Deseret News, it looks like both Democrats and Republicans will be caucusing on March 22. That would line both parties' delegate selection events up with the presidential primary in neighboring Arizona. That gives the date a bit of a western flavor on the presidential primary calendar.

But that regional clustering is only one of the draws for the state parties. Republicans in Utah can partner with Arizona, but also be able to continue their tradition of allocating national convention delegates in a truly winner-take-all fashion. Arizona Republicans also have that tradition. Much can and will happen between now and March 22, 2016, but both states together amount to nearly 100 total delegates. If one Republican candidate can win both contests on March 22, that cache of delegates would have some strategic implications. [They would even if there were separate winners of the Arizona and Utah contests.]

On the Democratic side, Utah along with Arizona and Idaho would qualify for a (sub)regional clustering bonus for their respective delegations. March 22 is the earliest date on which at least three regional partnering states would be eligible for that 15% delegate boost.

Both Utah parties, then, have some motivation to schedule their caucuses for March 22.

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