In Weber, the GOP supports Romney

Apr 23 2011 - 6:02pm

Images

(ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner) 
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, talks with Mary Margaret Lyon, of South Ogden, following his remarks during the annual Weber County Republican Convention on Saturday at South Ogden Junior High School.
(ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner) 
Skip Reese, of Ogden, claps as Utah governor Gary Herbert addresses the annual Weber County Republican Convention on Saturday at South Ogden Junior High School.
Utah governor Gary Herbert talks with members of his security detail as he prepares to take the stage Saturday at South Ogden Junior High..
(ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner) 
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, talks with Mary Margaret Lyon, of South Ogden, following his remarks during the annual Weber County Republican Convention on Saturday at South Ogden Junior High School.
(ANTHONY SOUFFLE/Standard-Examiner) 
Skip Reese, of Ogden, claps as Utah governor Gary Herbert addresses the annual Weber County Republican Convention on Saturday at South Ogden Junior High School.
Utah governor Gary Herbert talks with members of his security detail as he prepares to take the stage Saturday at South Ogden Junior High..

SOUTH OGDEN -- Mitt Romney was the runaway leader among potential presidential candidates at Saturday's Weber County Republican Party Convention.

A straw poll of the 176 delegates in attendance gave Romney 102 votes, almost 60 percent of the county party faithful who filled the South Ogden Junior High School auditorium.

After that, support fragmented sharply among the other 10 candidates.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, a Tea Party stalwart, came in a very distant second with 13 votes.

But she almost doubled the tallies of more veteran Republican standard-bearers Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who pulled seven votes each.

And they lagged behind Sarah Palin and Donald Trump, who each turned eight Weber Republican heads.

The gathering was an organizing convention only, with no candidates in need of nominating, so there was plenty of time for speeches.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop. R-Brigham City, whose district covers the Top of Utah; Sen. Orrin Hatch; and Gov. Gary Herbert were all on hand.

Sen. Mike Lee would have attended, officials said, but he was involved in a satellite hookup from Orem with troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

His chief of staff, Spencer Stokes, a former Weber County commissioner, came in his place.

State Sens. Stuart Reid, Allen Christensen and Scott Jenkins also addressed the convention. A plethora of Republican county office-holders also spoke.

The party holds every elected Weber County office except county attorney.

Bishop enthusiastically addressed immigration concerns, drawing his biggest round of applause when he pleaded for changes in federal law that would "let the U.S. Border Patrol do its job."

One example of a legal impediment he gave was the border patrol's authority to "do anything it wants" on private property in zones within 25 miles of any national border. "But not on public property. Yes, it's stupid."

He said he visited with officials at Arizona's border with Mexico last week. Half of the illegal immigrant flow comes through the Tucson corridor, he said, amounting to 1,000 illegals crossing each day.

Jenkins, R-Plain City, currently Senate majority leader, thanked the delegates for their support in creating a 22-7 Republican majority in the Senate.

Reid, R-Ogden, said his first time in a legislative session this year proved "a whirlwind, bordering on crazy, but they tell me that's normal."

After seven years in his Senate post, people still ask him why he does it, Christensen, R-North Ogden, told the delegates.

"It's you people," he said. "You energize me."

The delegates re-elected Matthew Bell as chairman of the county party.

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