Utah Republicans concerned about impact of Trump video on down-ballot races

Posted at 7:36 PM, Oct 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-08 23:35:36-04

OREM, Utah -- Utah may end up playing a significant role in the presidential race next month, but some GOP leaders are hoping the presidential race won't impact the local landscape.

"I think you can feel it in the air today," said Kathleen Anderson, the President of Utah Federation of Republican Women. "It seems like a sense of sadness."

Anderson is speaking of the Access Hollywood video from 2005 that shows Donald Trump making vulgar remarks about kissing and groping women. The video surfaced Friday, creating a political firestorm across the country. Many top Republican leaders, both nationally and in Utah, denounced Trump's remarks and in some cases withdrew their support.

"I was greatly disappointed," said Suzanne Mulet, Chairwoman of the Salt Lake County Republican Party. "I found the comments to be offensive."

Mulet fears that the continuing discontent with Trump may force some Republican voters to stay home from the voting booths, leaving a trickle-down-effect on local politics.

"What I want to make sure is that people don’t forget that that’s not the only election going on across the country," Mulet said. "That’s the top of the ticket on both sides, but there are so many good people running at local levels, and I want to implore people to continue to vote.”

When it comes to the presidential race, Mulet suggests many Republicans may now look at independent candidates; however, not everyone in the Utah GOP seems ready to jump ship.

"I can't vote for Hillary," Anderson said. "So, I will continue to vote for Trump because I don't think a third party candidate is a viable option."

Phil Wright, Vice Chair of the Republican Party, agreed.

"We cannot let Hillary be President," Wright said. "So, in my opinion, I'm going to vote for the person who gives us the most hope in this country and at this point, it's still Donald Trump."