Tuesday night marked the last leg of the 2012 GOP primary calendar with Utah delivering an expected victory to Mitt Romney. This officially marks the end of the primary season so the next big step on the GOP road is heading to Tampa for the convention in August.
Utah Primary Results: CNN Election Center
Report from USAToday:
A political milestone passed yesterday: The presidential primary season is officially over.
Mitt Romney easily won Utah’s primary on Tuesday and padded his delegate total by 40.
Romney officially clinched the GOP nomination in May but any suspense in the presidential race essentially ended in April when Rick Santorum dropped his White House bid.
Some states might still be tweaking their delegate lists for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Romney as of today has 1,512 delegates, according to an Associated Press tally. (It took 1,144 delegates to clinch.)
Utah was mainly being watched for the US Senate primary in which Orrin Hatch won big and will be on the ticket in November. Report on this race from the Salt Lake Tribune:
The tea party, big-spending PACs and challenger Dan Liljenquist failed Tuesday to force 78-year-old Orrin Hatch into retirement. The self-proclaimed “tough old bird” flew easily through the GOP primary, so now only Democrat Scott Howell stands between him and a record-shattering seventh term.
“I’m very energized by all this,” Hatch said as it became clear he would likely win by a wide margin. “This will give us an opportunity to help Mitt Romney to get the things that will really turn this country around.”
He vowed to keep working hard in the general election, and said he will continue to stress how important is for him to become chairman of the Finance Committee, if Republicans can win control of the Senate.
“That’s where 60 percent of all the spending is [controlled], that’s where the entitlements are, it’s where the terrible tax code is … it’s all on that committee. Romney understands that,” Hatch said.
“I’ve given it everything I have,” Hatch said of the race. “I have a great time campaigning. It’s the fun part of being in these offices.”
Liljenquist supporters were barely able to force a primary at the Utah GOP convention where they kept Hatch to just 59.9% of the vote where a 60% number was needed to avoid a primary. Not too shocking that Hatch ended up winning this one since he did have big name support such as Sarah Palin among others.