Trump wins Utah, Haley suspends campaign after Super Tuesday

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Members of Precinct 310 vote for precinct chair at Centennial Middle School in Provo, Utah. Precincts across Utah cast votes in the Republican Party caucus on March 5. (Lauren Willardson)

Donald Trump beat Nikki Haley to win Utah during the Republican Primaries on Super Tuesday, Mar. 5.

As of 10:57 a.m. on Mar. 6, 83% of Utah votes were counted. Trump held 57% of the votes, over Haley’s 42%, and won all 40 Utah delegates. 

At 8 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on Mar. 5, Haley officially announced in South Carolina that she would suspend her presidential campaign, after only winning Vermont out of the fifteen primary states. Besides Vermont, Utah was Haley’s largest victory.

In place of a traditional primary vote, the Utah Republican Party conducted a caucus. Local neighborhood groups called precincts came together to discuss local candidates, elect delegates and precinct  leadership, and place their presidential preference vote.

Jordan Hess, Utah Republican Party Vice Chairman from 2021-2022, explained that caucuses are a great expression of representative government and give all candidates an equal chance. 

Sign outside Centennial Middle School welcomes Republican Party caucus participants in Provo, Utah. The caucus was held on March 5. (Lauren Willardson)

“It’s much easier for candidates for office to get in front of 4000 delegates statewide than it is to try and reach a million voters,” Hess said. “If they can sway enough delegates to support them, they don’t need millions of dollars to get on the ballot.”

Hess has participated in every Utah caucus since he was a BYU student in 2010, but expressed that the majority of caucus participants he saw were at least 50-60 years old. He estimated only 20% of participants at his Washington County location were millennials. 

Although there were similar demographic trends throughout the state, BYU students who participated in local caucus meetings reported a positive experience.

“Even though we don’t get the experience of a primary necessarily, caucusing is a good way to really see the political process at its most granular level and understand that votes go all the way from your average American straight to the top,” Tanner Pickard, a 26-year-old BYU Law student said. The 2024 caucus was his first time participating.

Roger Brown, a BYU student studying chemistry, said a recent letter from the Utah Area Presidency contributed to his desire to attend the caucus.

Dallin Bundy, a sophomore studying political science, also mentioned that the letter brought one of his friends who was not registered to watch the caucus and another friend from his ward to participate in the caucus for the first time.

“I was already planning on going beforehand, but I am kind of a minority in that,” Bundy said. “I felt like it really helped people to go with a good mindset trying to be more engaged and helped me solidify that what I’m doing is a good thing.” 

Some BYU students like Bundy also left caucus night with elected positions as county and state delegates.

Bundy said his precinct only had about a dozen participants when it came time to vote for the state delegate and precinct vice-chair position, which were combined. He described the group as half college-aged, half “older members of the community,” with two older members competing for the position.

“Honestly I had no plans to put my name in, but then I just wanted to make sure that we actually had a good conversation about people’s views … so I put my name in just to start a conversation,” Bundy said.

Utah caucus volunteers, Lyn Chapman and Elaine Kemp, count votes at Centennial Middle School in Provo, Utah. The Utah Republican Party caucus was held on March 5.

One of the other individuals ended up withdrawing their name for the position, Bundy said, so he ended up in a two-way race. The first vote was tied 6-6, but after a second speech, Bundy was elected in a 7-5 vote. 

“We were pretty divided in that room, but at the same time there was still at least one person who was willing to change their mind,” Bundy said. “That really impressed me, because there was one person who was willing to maybe relook at or revalue what they thought was needed in that election or which candidate was right for that position.”

Bundy noted that if one person could make a difference in that election, each voter makes a difference by showing up to participate in the caucus.

Kaden Call, another BYU student and first-time caucus attendee, said he was a little concerned about how the caucus worked but was able to find caucus location and registration details after just ten minutes of research online.

“Really just connect with your party affiliation if you have one and take advantage of the resources they’re providing,” Call said.

These BYU students encouraged others to participate in future civic engagement opportunities.

“Pick one (candidate) that’s at least somewhat close to you, there’s not going to be a perfect match, and go and see what it’s about,” Brown said. “You might change your mind or you might find more like-minded people and be able to make a change at a local level.”

BYU sophomore Dallin Bundy casts a vote at his precinct at Timpanogos Elementary as part of the Utah caucus on March 5. Bundy was elected to be a precinct vice-chair and state delegate for Precinct 339. (Anna Bryner)
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