Utah governor: I’m voting for Ted Cruz

posted at 1:31 pm on March 21, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

According to the latest polling, Gary Herbert is hardly alone in Utah, but his endorsement may kneecap a fellow Republican governor in Utah. In a Facebook post earlier today, Governor Herbert urged his fellow Utahans to cast their vote for “a consistent conservative,” and to cement the state’s status as something more than just another “flyover state”:

Tomorrow night, Utah will award 40 delegates to the Republican National Convention. If one of the Republican candidates can receive more than 50 percent of the vote, that candidate will receive all of Utah’s 40 delegates.

Ted Cruz is a consistent conservative who understands the importance of federalism. I’m confident he will work to limit the federal government when it comes to education, public lands and other issues where states can do better than the federal government.

Utah is no longer considered a flyover state. For the first time in recent memory, Utah voters will play a critical role in the presidential nominating contest. With one vacancy and possibly more on the U.S. Supreme Court, it is essential we have a president who will nominate a strong conservative to the court who will use the Constitution as his or her guide.

This won’t do much damage to Donald Trump, at least not directly. For John Kasich, though, it could be a body blow. Kasich made the odd choice to compete in Utah despite having developed little traction in the state when it was in his best interest to see Cruz get the winner-take-all majority of the vote, and slow down Trump’s progress to the nomination. Having the sitting governor pass over another governor to endorse a first-term Senator will take some of the recent wind out of Kasich’s sails.

Cruz might be getting a majority of the vote tomorrow even without Herbert’s help. According to a new poll from Y2 Analytics, he has 53% to Kasich’s 29%, with Trump barely making it into double digits:

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has zoomed to a commanding lead in Utah’s GOP caucuses, according to a new poll released Saturday. It also gave a glimpse into how frustrated the state’s Republicans are with Donald Trump’s candidacy.

The Y2 Analytics survey shows Cruz with 53 percent support among likely Republican caucus-goes and if that matches Tuesday’s caucus vote, he’d win all of the state’s 40 GOP delegates.

Coming in second is Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 29 percent, while Trump, the national front-runner, was a distant third at 11 percent.

The Y2 Analytics poll was conducted from Thursday to Saturday and included 500 respondents, capturing some of the reaction from public events held by all three of the Republican candidates. Cruz held three public events in Utah on Saturday with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, commentator Glenn Beck and former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. Kasich and Trump held events on Friday.

The polling period preceded Herbert’s endorsement, of course, and that should brighten things considerably for Cruz. While Kasich’s support may not transfer cleanly to Cruz under normal conditions, those looking to oppose Trump in either direction will have to consider the need to consolidate behind Cruz rather than give Kasich a few meaningless delegates. Herbert’s biggest impact will probably be among undecideds and leaners. Mostly, though, it’s yet another sign that Cruz has begun to unify the traditional elements in the GOP to stop Trump’s march to 1237 on the first ballot in Cleveland.

 


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