If you aren’t familiar with how deep the trouble Utah Attorney General John Swallow finds himself in, Daniel Burton has a great summary for you. In a nutshell, it seems that he’s been involved in numerous shady business deals, campaign donations, and pay-to-play schemes for several years and has dragged his former boss, Mark Shurtleff, into it as well. A lot of people are using it to indict the caucus and convention system used to nominate candidates. When faced with the facts, however, we should see that the converse is true.
In the primary election, John Swallow beat challenger Sean Reyes for the GOP nomination almost 70% to 30%. Swallow had a mountain of campaign cash, the endorsement of outgoing Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, and name recognition from being a previous lawmaker and candidate for various offices. Reyes was heavily handicapped in the primary game, one that requires an expensive marketing campaign to win.
Compare this to the results of the GOP convention. Swallow barely managed a 9-point lead, nowhere near enough to prevent a primary. Despite it taking many more months before Swallow’s skeletons came crashing out his closet into the lead story of every media outlet in the state, it seems that a much higher percentage of the delegates knew something we didn’t. It’s almost as if the delegates were better-informed than the general voting public.
The next time you get the urge to trash the current nominating process, maybe you should keep in mind that it was caucus attendees that did a better job at trying to prevent the Swallow debacle than the voting public at large.