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Utah GOP vote to censor Mitt Romney fails as senator is booed at convention

The vote fell 711-798, according to Republican Party of Utah spokeswoman Lynda Cox.

The resolution to censor Romney, which was submitted by Don Guymon, a Davis County party delegate, was filled with unproven conspiracy theories, including about President Joe Biden and his family. The wording of the resolution also alleged that Romney “had consistently publicly criticized President Trump” and that his “comments had not only harmed President Trump’s re-election, but hurt other Republicans on the ballot.”

Although censorship failed, Romney’s treatment on Saturday was a reminder of the fractures in the GOP over the legacy of the former president and his influence over the future of the party.

“Now you know me as someone who says what he thinks, and I don’t hide the fact that I wasn’t a fan of our last president’s character issues,” Romney told the crowd. In response, members of the public booed loud enough to force Romney to stop his speech and wait for them to calm down.

Later in his remarks, Romney called himself an “old-fashioned Republican,” which drew more boos from members of the crowd. The 2012 GOP presidential candidate defended himself from taunts by listing his conservative credentials.

“Oh yeah, you can boo whatever you want, but I’ve been a Republican my whole life. My dad was governor of Michigan, my dad worked for Republican candidates he believed in. I worked for Republicans. across the country and if you don’t remember, I was the Republican presidential candidate in 2012, ”said Romney, who was greeted with applause from members of the public.

“Yeah, I understand that I have a few people who don’t like me very much and I – I’m sorry about that. But I express my mind like I believe it’s right and I follow my conscience like I believe that. it’s fair, “Romney said at one point, to which the crowd responded with boos and cheers.

Guymon’s censure resolution, which had eight co-sponsors, targeted Romney for his two condemnation votes in 2020 and 2021 and rejected the idea that Trump had incited an insurgency on the U.S. Capitol. The resolution also claimed that “House impeachment officials tampered with the evidence” and “denied due process,” blaming Romney for voting to “proceed with unconstitutional impeachment and convict President Trump despite the lack of evidence and due process ”.

Guymon told CNN after the vote he believed the proximity of the result reflected there had been a “turnaround” against the Utah senator following his votes to convict Trump in his two impeachment trials . Guymon added that a number of delegates told him they decided not to vote for the censure resolution because they felt Romney “got the message” when he was booed earlier today. when he took the stage to make remarks at the convention organization.

There are around 4,000 state delegates from the GOP, but only about half of those delegates attended the organizing convention this year because it was mostly party business and no major nominations, so some people chose to stay at home. Attendance was also lower due to the pandemic. By the time the censorship resolution against Romney arrived, many delegates had already left the venue.

CNN has contacted Romney’s office for comment.

Romney has long had a strained relationship with hardcore activists within the Utah Republican Party, whose delegates tend to be more conservative than GOP voters statewide. Even before the impeachment votes, many activists were unhappy with Romney’s decision to run for the seat of retired Senator Orrin Hatch in 2018, as Romney had just returned to Utah after living in Massachusetts for many years. and to have been governor there.
At the Utah GOP convention in 2018, Romney was unable to win the 60% he needed from state delegates to get to the unopposed November poll, even though he was extremely popular statewide because of its history in helping to save the 2002 Salt Lake. City Olympics. He was up against 11 other candidates for the nomination and ended up in a runoff with Utah State Representative Mike Kennedy. Another challenger wore a mat on stage as a prop to protest Romney’s presence in the race – illustrating animosity towards Romney even at this early stage. In the end, Romney easily won the statewide seat of Hatch with 62.6% of the vote compared to Democrat Jenny Wilson’s 30.9% in November.
Romney is just the latest Republican lawmaker to receive return from state party activists upset over elected Republicans clashing with the former president.

Trump criticized those who voted for his impeachment or sentencing as “tribunes” and “name-only Republicans” at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier this year. And the former president has pledged to campaign against Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, the only Republican in the Senate to vote to convict him, who will be re-elected next year.

Daniella Diaz contributed to this story.


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