- Associated Press - Saturday, May 20, 2017

SANDY, Utah (AP) - The Latest on Utah’s annual GOP convention (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

The Utah Republican Party will not endorse the use of medical marijuana following a lopsided convention vote.

GOP delegates rejected the proposal with a vote of 70 percent to 30 percent after a spirited debate Saturday.

While supporters argue that the drug can have life-changing effects for patients, opponents say it hasn’t been fully vetted and express concern that allowing medical use could lead to full legalization.

While the state Republican party’s libertarian wing has embraced the cause, conservative leaders have balked. Utah’s Republican governor and GOP-dominated Legislature have rejected plans to pass a medical law for three years in a row.

__

1 p.m.

Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz says he’s happy Hillary Clinton isn’t president and is proud of his role in investigating her use of a private email server.

The chair of the House Oversight Committee got standing ovations as he spoke to Utah Republicans at t e party’s annual convention held Saturday, days after his surprise announcement that he’ll step down from his seat next month.

He got choked up talking about his tenure in the short address. It was preceded by a video showing him setting up the cot that he famously began sleeping on in his office nine years ago.

A crowded field of candidate is already vying to replace Chaffetz and their names dotted an exhibition hall steps away from the podium where he spoke.

__

11:45 a.m.

The Utah Republican Party will have a new leader: Rob Anderson, a county party chair who had been critical of the party’s handling of a contentious law changing how political parties nominate candidates.

Anderson was elected state party chair in a vote at the Utah GOP’s annual convention Saturday. Outgoing chair James Evans lost his bid for an unusual third term in the first round of voting.

Evans’s tenure has been marked by a legal battle he waged over the 2014 nominating law. Anderson wants to drop the fight and move on. He’s also promised to tackle party financial issues.

The onetime Davis County party chair won with 56 percent in a second round of voting against Utah GOP Vice-Chair Phill Wright.

__

10:30 a.m.

Utah’s annual GOP convention is underway with fiery rhetoric on the contentious Bears Ears National Monument.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch took the podium Saturday morning to honor a southern Utah county commissioner convicted of criminal charges in a high-profile protest over federal management of public lands.

Sen. Mike Lee also spoke against Bears Ears and called on President Donald Trump to undo it. Opponents were heartened when Trump ordered a review of Bears Ears last month.

The Republican convention brings together the party’s core of about 4,000 Republicans, who are also expected to vote on medical marijuana and choose a state party chair during the daylong event.

It comes days after a surprise resignation announcement from high-profile Congressmen Jason Chaffetz, who is expected to speak.

__

7 a.m.

About 4,000 Republicans who make up the core of Utah’s GOP will pick new a leader at the party’s annual convention Saturday and decide whether to endorse the use of medical marijuana, a cause the party’s libertarian wing has embraced but conservative leaders have rejected.

The daylong convention at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy also gives Utah’s governor, congressional delegation and other top officials a chance to speak to party activists and longtime loyalists, in speeches in front of a packed exhibition hall and in more intimate encounters as Republicans mingle with elected officials at their official campaign booths.

Utah GOP chairman James Evans on Saturday faces his own election, as he seeks a third term as his party’s leader.

He’s being challenged by Utah GOP Vice-Chair Phill Wright and Davis County GOP chair Rob Anderson.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide