Mitt Romney-Mike Kennedy GOP contest heads to Summit County
The congressional campaign trail winds its way to Park City and surrounding Summit County in the next week as Republicans vying for the party’s Senate nomination and Democrats who want to represent the party in a House of Representatives contest are scheduled to make local stops.
Planned events by the two Republicans seeking the Senate nod — Mitt Romney and Mike Kennedy — are especially notable. The winner of the Republican nomination will be seen as the overwhelming favorite to win to seat in November since the state leans heavily toward the GOP.
Kennedy is scheduled to appear on Wednesday evening at a private residence in Park City for a fundraiser. There is not a minimum contribution to attend. Romney is slated to attend a meet-and-greet event at the city park in Kamas on June 19. The event is open to Republicans and no contribution is required.
The contest for the Republican nomination in the Senate campaign has overshadowed the other primaries in the state as GOP voters prepare to choose between Romney, among the nation’s most prominent party members, and Kennedy, a state legislator who is running a campaign to the political right of the former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 presidential nominee.
Romney remains popular in Park City and outlying Summit County from his days leading the 2002 Winter Olympics. He has longtime ties to Park City and recently hosted his annual gathering of business and government leaders in Deer Valley. Kennedy could encounter resistance in Park City and Summit County on primary day since many local Republicans are seen as moderate compared to those elsewhere in the state.
Brantley Eason, the chair of the Summit County Republican Party, said the two candidates are expected to make their “last arguments” to voters as the primary ballots arrive in the mail.
“They want to reach out to all primary voters, wherever they are,” Eason said about the appearances, adding he anticipates Romney and Kennedy will outline their platforms and talk about their vision for representing the state in the Senate.
He said the events could energize the local Republican Party.
“I think every county’s important to them. If Summit County wasn’t important, they wouldn’t come up,” Eason said.
Another event is planned on Thursday in Park City involving the two Democrats competing for the nomination in the 1st Congressional District, Lee Castillo and Kurt Weiland. Eric Eliason, a United Utah Party candidate in the congressional district, is also scheduled to appear at the Thursday event. The gathering is planned as a public forum organized by the League of Women Voters, the Summit County Republican Party, the Summit County Democratic Party and the United Utah Party. It is scheduled from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. in the community room on the third floor of the Park City Library.
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Utah’s legislative general session is set to end on Friday, and if history is any indicator, there will be a flurry of floor amendments and last-minute changes for county officials to monitor.