Thousands descended on the South Towne Conference Center and were greeted with crowds hawking their wares. Award goes to Senator Orrin Hatch for the best gift, a cowboy hat. Little did they know that a real cowboy was coming in, hat and all. It kind of made the Orrin Hatch hat crew look a bit dandyish. (He was from Montana and talked to me about the circus he had entered. Thanks for reluctantly letting me take your picture.)
There was a problem with many of us in Utah County for our credentials. No one was there at first in the problems-with-credentials line but eventually someone showed up and hand lettered our credentials. After about an hour wait, we got our high-tech touch pad and were ready to go.
First stop: 300D room for the state senator 16 spot. There were dueling breakfasts there: donuts on the one side, bagels, muffins, and juice on the other. It was not a good day for weight watchers.
Finally the doors opened for us. There were 126 delegates from the senate district who had been courted and educated for the past month. I had announced my decision the day before, with the hope that a primary would allow further exploration of some of the issues and involve the precinct more. After listening to each candidate for six minutes, the vote was taken. No primary in this contest. Senator Curt Bramble barely passed the 60 percent mark by two votes. I was disappointed that only 112 votes were cast. What about the other 14 who were supposed to be representing their precincts? I was ashamed of them. I found out later from Senator Bramble that there were seven denied by election officials because the talks had started. As I understand it, the officials were supposed to cut it off right before the voting was opened up, not as the talks began. I don't know what could be done at this point. The denied one did come in later than the 8:30 scheduled time. (When I asked Andrew Holmes the starting time the night before as he dropped by the house, he said jokingly, "8:30 if you're voting for me. 9:30 if you're voting for Curt." Good to have a sense of humor.) Later in the day, Senator Bramble told me that he still wanted to discuss things further with me even though he doesn't have a primary. Nice touch.
Part 2: The big convention. Next. . . .