Hough retains committeeman seat
As a 10-year-old kid in Idaho in the early 1960s, Bruce Hough vividly remembers being asked by someone to plant yard signs for political candidates in his neighborhood.
"I was excited to do it and for one very important reason: I would get a root beer can that had ‘Au H20’ on it and I thought that was the cleverest thing ever," Hough said. "That was so awesome and every time I went back to get signs they gave me another can."
Hough, a Park Meadows resident, remembers several politically-related events from those years in his early childhood, including the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the death two days later of the suspect, Lee Harvey Oswald.
As a young teenager, Hough became a self-proclaimed "political animal," rallying for the election of Richard Nixon because of his promise to end the Vietnam War. After spending a couple of years in Latin America "seeing dictatorships," he decided to make politics part of his avocation.
Hough has been a member of the Republican National Committee for more than a decade, previously serving two terms as the Utah state party chairman. He is also a member of the national party’s executive committee.
In July, Hough will travel to Cleveland, Ohio, for his sixth National Republican Party Convention after having secured the slot for national committeeman. He will be one of three from Utah.
As national committeeman, Hough said his primary role is to help plan and execute the national convention. For the past four years, the party has been raising money to allow the GOP presidential candidate to "coordinate and utilize our infrastructure."
"Up until 2012, we have always done a 7-month campaign," Hough said. "But the age of Obama ushered in the four-year campaign cycle for president.
This presidential election cycle, the GOP has raised "more and spent more money" than in the party’s history, Hough said, adding that it will create a better outcome.
"If we would have had this four years ago, Mitt Romney would have been president. But we didn’t and we learned," he said. "The party is tremendously prepared right now. We have never been more prepared in the history of the party."
However, Hough said he is only referring to the "things we can control as a national committee." One of the conundrums the party faces, he said, is "what we can control and what we can’t," such as the candidates.
"That’s where you spend a lot of time working with your candidates to make sure they are going to be electable," Hough said. "You cannot control their message and what they are saying, though, which creates a fascinating dynamic."
Regardless of who is selected as the party’s nominee, Hough confidently said "we will support the candidate that receives 1,237 votes from the delegates." He acknowledged that there may be individuals who will choose not to support the candidate, but emphasized "that is their duty and what they have been hired and prepared to do."
Looking ahead to the convention, Hough said the party is potentially entering "some unchartered waters." He said it has been nearly 40 years since the GOP has face such uncertainty about its convention.
"I think there is a tremendous amount of anticipation for this convention because we usually have a presumptive candidate," Hough said. "This time, however, there is more intrigue and excitement. I think you will see a lot of politicking in ways that has not been seen in some time.
"Anything can happen this year. If we don’t get the 1,237 votes it will be electric and it could turn nuclear," he said.
As the party’s code dictates, Hough is obligated to vote for presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. He said all delegates are bound to the results of the Utah caucus and presidential preference poll, which Cruz won with nearly 70 percent of the vote.
However, Hough did not indicate who he would support in the event that neither candidate receives the required 1,237 votes and there is a second round of voting. Hough, who is a member of the Committee on Arrangements, said he cannot put himself in a position to show preference for one candidate over another. He added that he also isn’t quite sure yet.
"My wife doesn’t even know and I’m not sure I do," Hough said. "Either way, the convention will be a lot of fun and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in July."
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