Why every presidential candidate is suddenly paying attention to Utah

Posted at 10:28 AM, Mar 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-18 13:23:58-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Presidential candidates are paying attention to Utah like never before, trying to snag our 77 available delegate votes for Tuesday's caucuses.

Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and John Kasich have events planned Friday and Saturday in Utah. (On Thursday, Hillary Clinton had former Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan stumping for her.)

There are 37 Democratic and 40 Republican delegate votes at the national party conventions and with a closer than expected race for the White House, candidates are booking face time with Utah voters. They've also flooded TV stations with political ads.

"Utah has become much more interesting to the presidential campaigns," said Bryan Smith, the executive director of the Utah Republican Party.

In previous election cycles, a frontrunner has emerged early and Utah's delegate votes aren't as crucial. Lauren Littlefield, the executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, told FOX 13 that with a race like this one, every delegate matters.

"States like Utah, red states that are usually flyover states, are getting a lot more attention from these presidential candidates," she said. "It makes sense."

Here's the candidates' events:

  • Donald Trump scheduled a last-minute event on Friday in Salt Lake City at the Infinity Event Center at 7pm. RSVP here.
  • Bernie Sanders has scheduled a Friday rally at This is the Place Heritage Park. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. RSVP and more details here.
  • John Kasich has scheduled three events in Utah on Friday, beginning at noon at Utah Valley University (RSVP here), then a 3 p.m. event at the University of Utah (RSVP here) and a 5:30 p.m. event at Davis High School in Kaysville (RSVP here).
  • Ted Cruz is holding a pair of events Saturday. He's joining Utah Sen. Mike Lee's campaign kickoff at the American Preparatory Academy in Draper at 10 a.m. and then a 2 p.m. rally at Provo High School. Cruz will also be joined by Glenn Beck and Carly Fiorina.