Republicans congregate for the slaughter, while Democrats gather to indulge their malcontents.---
Note: Josh Loftin will be live
tweeting (@joshloftin) the GOP convention, as well as posting updates to
the Salt Blog throughout the day. He will also be filing stories for
Salon.com as their freelance reporter, focusing on the U.S. Senate race.
After the conventions, check CityWeekly.net for a wrap-up of the
Democratic convention and a video featuring the Log Cabin Republicans by
videographer Marty Foy and reporter Jesse Fruhwirth.
Saturday morning, both state political parties will hold their conventions in downtown Salt Lake City, at the Salt Palace. Most of the action will be in the Republican convention, primarily because of the extremely tight U.S. Senate race, which could end Sen. Bob Bennett's career. Beyond that race, there isn't actually a lot of intrigue. There are about a dozen legislative seats being contested, but those only get really interesting if an incumbent such as Rep. Ben Ferry, R-Corrinne, or Sen. Pete Knudsen, R-Brigham City, are forced into a primary. Four people are running for governor, including "Super Dell" Schanze, but none of them are expected to even make Gov. Gary Herbert sweat. It is also expected that the hard-working Morgan Philpot will win the nomination as the 2nd District sacrificial lamb against Rep. Jim Matheson.
Matheson is really the biggest potential excitement in the Democratic convention, but only because he is facing a challenger, Claudia Wright, who is backed by the more liberal wing of the party. Although anything can happen on convention day, the most likely course of events is a rambunctious speech from Wright that gets her passionate supporters worked into a lather and then doesn't come close to pushing him into a primary. (Disclaimer, using a dreaded sports analogy: Wright is a horse facing 50-1 odds in the Kentucky Derby (video embedded below). So yes, I think she could actually pull an upset and force a primary. But it's a serious long shot).
Other potentially interesting races are Sam Granato and Christopher Stout, who are vying to be the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee. Granato comes in pre-approved by party leaders, but he has done almost nothing to define himself as a candidate. Christopher Stout has worked hard, and may garner enough support for a primary. But again, doubtful. In the legislative races, the best one is for House District 25, where multiple candidates are looking to replace Rep. Christine Johnson, who is stepping down.
Both conventions start around 10 a.m., and first round ballots should be counted by noon. After that, it gets unpredictable, especially in the GOP Senate race. To participate, a person has to have already been selected as a delegate, but that doesn't preclude unelected masochists from going to watch the theater.