John Hollenhorst reportingUtah Republicans paired down the long list of candidates for governor at yesterday's GOP State Convention. After a long and complicated voting process, delegates narrowed the list from eight candidates to two-- a list that does not include current Governor Olene Walker.
Obviously the elimination of Governor Walker has political tongues wagging. So what does it mean?
There's a sharp contrast between Governor Walker's strong popularity with the public and her relative lack of support among party insiders.
The question is, will Republicans pay a price when the public gets a chance to vote? Or is the GOP party so strong, it just doesn't matter?
¶ The Republicans definitely have a fight on their hands, an in-house fight to decide who will carry the party's flag in November against Democrat Scott Matheson, Junior.
Republican convention delegates set up a primary battle between Nolan Karras and John Huntsman, Junior. Thanks to the convention, primary voters will not have a chance to vote for Governor Walker.
Democratic chairman Donald Dunn says mainstream voters won't like it.
Donald Dunn/Democratic Party Chairman: "You know you look at what happened at the convention. And they threw Olene from the train. I think the right radical part of the Republican party did not want her to be the nominee. Mainstream Utahns, that are swing voters, respected Governor Walker."
Joe Cannon/Republican Party Chairman: "We had a whole bunch of good candidates on our side this time. The fact is, a very representative body of our party chose to go with two of them. No one can argue that either of our two candidates for governor in the primary are right-wing extremists. Who could argue that?"
Cannon says it's still way early in the election season for most Utahns and all the candidates are still undefined in the minds of voters.
Meanwhile, on her first full day as a lame duck, Governor Walker spent the day quietly with her family celebrating Mother's Day.