SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - A group of Utahns announced Monday they’re starting a local effort to support Donald Trump for president.
The “Utah Wants Trump” campaign aims to help Utahns understand The Donald on a more personal level.
Local campaign organizers say they recognize Trump hasn’t been widely popular with Utah Republicans, but say his family values and love of the great American west make him the perfect candidate for the Beehive State.
“He’s attracted people to come out and vote for him that haven’t voted for years,” said Trump supporter Stan Parrish. “Independents, blue collar workers, a lot of those who are not, if you will, establishment Republicans.”
Organizers say they envision the campaign being more of a grassroots effort, talking to people about Trump’s message and ideals. The formation of the local campaign comes after Trump has already won primary elections in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
A recent Utah Policy poll found only 18 percent of local Republicans said they’d vote for Trump.
“The more they get to know him, the more they see what his values are and what he stands for, the more they’re going to support him,” said Sen. Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe. “I think the growth is just starting.”
Supporters say one of the biggest opportunities for Utahns to get to know him will be at the GOP debate, which will take place in in Salt Lake City next month. Utah campaign organizer Don Peay couldn’t confirm 100 percent that Trump will be there, but says Trump’s family is focusing on Nevada and Utah.
“The Utah people will grow to love the Trump family as they see how Don Jr, Ivanka, and Eric, work with their dad on a daily basis,” Peay said. “They’ve built this tremendous company, they work together, they play together.”
A lot of the negativity toward Trump has come from controversial comments made on major issues like immigration and federal lands. Peay said those comments don’t necessarily represent the true Trump.
“Sure, it comes off kind of jolting and people don’t like it, but we’ve become so politically correct that none of us are comfortable speaking our mind, and it’s kind of nice when somebody does for you,” said Trump supporter Suzette Naujoks.
Utah Republican Caucus meetings will be take place March 22.