Well, I know that this is a couple of days old, but I had such a good time at the convention, that I want to record my experience for future reference. And I am hoping that it will be enjoyable for everyone else to read.
My day started with a simple question from my wife. “What time are you planning on leaving?”
“You better get up then.”
I jump out of bed skip the shower, get dressed an head out the door. Stopping only because I forgot my Chris Cannon Breakfast pass.
6:00am (or there about)
Meet up with several people from the Chaffetz campaign who are there to put signs up. By this late time, most of it was done, so I did a lot of standing around. Until they finally opened the doors to let people into the halls.
I placed a couple of signs, but not really much. Eventually, I met up with a few campaign volunteers and I helped to put up a few large triangles to create a larger presence. It was good to see so many people involved and excited about the campaign.
I was really starting to get bored at this point. It didn’t seem like there was much going on, so I decided to take my t-shirts and start waiting in credentials line. My first impression was the poor kids who were handing out bags to the delegates for David Leavitt. No one seemed interested in their bags.
I myself didn’t even bother to get one. Perhaps I should have had pitty on them, but I really didn’t care to carry the bag around, and I didn’t care for the “stuff” that was in the bag.
Despite the fact that the credentials were supposed to be open at 7:00, the line didn’t start moving until around 7:30. Once I got to the front of the line I realized that I (and a few of the men in front of me) was in the wrong line. Fortunately, the lady guarding the wall between the two areas had pitty on us, and let us in.
I quicking picked up my credentials and I almost walked out without my ballot, because the men checking me in forgot to give it to me. They caught their mistake before I got to far, and I received a ballot before leaving.
Picked up a few more t-shirts and a few flyers to help hand out at the door. Most people were pretty receptive to receiving the information, but a few were rather rude. But so be it, I was happy to put up with a little crap to help support Chaffetz.
I really didn’t like one of the flyers. Some of the statements seemed risky. But it appears that they were well substantiated (or verifiable). But it was an interesting statement about where David Leavitt stands on immigration. And if immigration is an important issue to a delegate, this could help them to make their decision.
It’s starting to get cold, and I am getting hungry, because I haven’t taken advantage of the Cannon pass. However, the Huntsman booth was within sight of were I was, and the appeared to have some good stuff. So, I handed my flyers to some fellow volunteers, and I went to have some breakfast.
At breakfast, I had some good conversation with some fellow delegates on various candidates, and it was fun to talk to them. I also stopped and talked to Kent Winder from my old Stake to see how things were there. He didn’t remember me, but he did recognize me. That’s okay, because I really didn’t have that much interaction with the Winder Family while I lived in the Stake they lived in.
Went inside, because I needed to warm up. I manned some of the booths and helped hand out more t-shirts, button, and flyers about Chaffetz. It was great to see the group of delegates huddled around Chaffetz, asking him questions and learning what he stood for. You could see that there was a genuine interest in what Chaffetz was saying. Whether that interest translated into votes was soon to be shown.
This time was also the first that I heard about the possibility of Chaffetz to garner 60% in the convention. That struck me as a little ambitious, but I was hopeful to see it happen. Because based on past primaries, Chaffetz will have a tough time against Cannon.
Found a seat in the Salt Lake County Section of the floor. I found a few Chaffetz supports to sit with, but I didn’t know any of them, but they were friendly enough to sit with.
Eventually, they got to the point that I was eager to get too. We separated into our separate districts to hear from the candidates and to start casting ballots.
Stone Fonua was interesting. I can sum up his talk with one word. “Peacemaker.” Ummm… Interesting talk, and not very inspiring. Seven minutes felt like a half hour.
Joe “NPC” Ferguson (can someone tell me what NPC means) was at least better to listen to. But frankly, you could tell the he was a one issue candidate, who didn’t offer much in the name of a well-rounded candidate.
David Leavitt started with a syrupy video about dreams, values, family, and hope. Then he gave his “I am a Statesman” talk. That made one wonder if they had accidentally arrived at a Barrack Obama campaign. If one were to vote strictly on emotions, then they would have to vote for Leavitt. He really did a lot of work to pull at heart strings. But as usually there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of substance to his talk. Just like all of the balloons that he dropped from the ceiling. Trust me the balloon drop was very anti-climatic.
Jason Chaffetz hit several balls out of the proverbial park. He started out very strong. His talk was by far the most issues based talk. He covered all of the bases (to continue to baseball metaphor): illegal immigration, fiscal responsibility, our national security and more. The audience was clapping and generally showing a lot of support for Chaffetz. The energy level went from a hum to an all out party during Chaffetz’s speech.
Chris Cannon was better than Leavitt, but he couldn’t compete with Chaffetz. Like Leavitt, Cannon started out with a video, but it wasn’t sugary sweet. It was mostly filled with endorsements from various individuals included President Bush, Senator Hatch, and others. When Cannon spoke from the pulpit, he addressed a few issues, and did an okay job.
Round One Voting (Sorry, but I really started to lose track of time, but this was around 12:00pm)
I headed up the stares to cast my first ballot. It was obviously cast for Chaffetz, and I was great to place a ballot for someone I can honestly support.
The interesting thing about the voting was that after I had dropped by ballot in the box (I was little shocked to see that we are still using dangling chads), I walk directly passed Chris Cannon. He was talking to some reporter; I really wasn’t paying attention to who. He stopped his conversation with the report, and turned to me and said, “When Chaffetz is out, I hope that I can get your vote.”
Not grasping the full extent of what he said and being a little taken a back by any comment from Cannon, I stupidly replied, “We will have to see.” I wish that I could have said something more along the lines of. “It won’t come to that.” Or better yet, “I hope that when you get out of the voting, that you will vote for Chaffetz.” But it’s too late now.
The wait for round 1 results, was bearable. There were several other candidates and issues to study up on and look over. However, it was starting to get hard to sit and wait. Especially after they announce the results:
Stone Fonua: 4 ( .37 percent)- eliminated
Joe Ferguson: 49 (4.54 percent) – eliminated
David Leavitt: 220 (20.37 percent)
Jason Chaffetz: 469 (43.43 percent)
Chris Cannon: 338 (31.30 percent)
It was exciting that not only did “my” candidate win the first round. He had a whopping 43% of the vote. The rumors that I heard about 60% were starting to look more realistic.
Round Two Voting
After hearing from candidate for the other offices, and make some informed (and some not-well informed) decisions. I cast my ballot again for Jason Chaffetz, and for the other varied candidates who I thought would do a the best job.
I was forced to walk by the concession stands, but I didn’t give into temptation. I eventually went through the hall that didn’t have the balloting booths, and there I found Chris Cannon dishing out Pizza. Thanks for the slice. It was good, and still very hot.
After the slice, I went over by the Chaffetz booth (which was close to one of the Leavitt booths, and I couldn’t help but notice the face of dejection in the volunteers for Leavitt. I even saw Leavitt himself, and he too was cast down. He was trying to hold his head up, but you could just see that he couldn’t believe the results.
I also took this down time to look up so old friends. I knew that KH was going to be there, so I asked several people if they knew her, but to no avail. Then I looked up at just the right time and found her. So, I made my way across the section of chairs, and we had a fun little how have you been chat.
I also saw some people who lived in my ward while growing up (then lived in my stake a few years back). So I took a moment to say hi to CP, LP, and DP. I couldn’t help but notice that they were wearing David Leavitt t-shirts, so I boldly asked them to vote for Chaffetz, if Leavitt didn’t survive round two. LP agreed that she absolutely would. Because she was completely against Cannon.
The wait to hear the results of round two seemed twice as long as for round one. But I gather that it really wasn’t that bad. Just sitting through the debates about party constitution and bylaws was boring.
Fortunately, the monotony was broken by the violation of floor rules from Leavitt or Cannon or both. As has been well published on the Internet. Approx. 100 teenage volunteers from the Leavitt campaign came out onto the floor carrying Cannon signs. They were reminded of the rules, and then escorted politely off of the floor. In my opinion, it was a gross display of Leavitt’s lack of statesmanship.
I was willing to give Cannon the benefit of the doubt and assume he had nothing to do with it. But that benefit was quickly removed when I saw Cannon and Leavitt walk onto the floor side-by-side shaking hands and I am assuming encouraging people to vote for Cannon. It was then that I was sure Cannon had shot himself in the foot, and I knew that Chaffetz had 60% of the vote.
Finally, after what seemed like forever, they announced the results of the the second round of voting:
David Leavitt: 161 (15.39 percent) – eliminated
Chris Cannon: 356 (34.03 percent)
Jason Chaffetz: 529 (50.57 percent)
Round Three Voting
Before I had a chance get up to the ballot boxes, I had several people come up to where I was and ask people near by what they thought of the Leavitt support Cannon move. And the over all consensus was that they were put off by it. It was wrong and they didn’t like it.
While I was in line waiting to cast my ballot I also listened to what people had to say. And while some were quiet, there were several who were vocal about their concern over the move.
After balloting, I quickly stopped off at the Chaffetz booths and talk to a couple of friends on the campaign (KH and AL). They agreed with me. They all felt that Leavitt and Cannon had managed to shoot themselves in the foot and that we were going to take 60%. They might have been less enthusiastic than I, but they had generally agreed.
Jason Chaffetz arrive at the booths while we were there, and all of his supporters applauded his entrance. You could see the humility in his eyes and body language. He was grateful for our support, and moved that we were so excited to see him. I was close enough to hear what he said, but he talked a little bit, then I had to leave. So, I said my good byes and headed out the door.
Just as I was leaving, I saw my friends of my home ward (CP and LP). I asked her as a Leavitt supporter what she thought of the action on the floor. And she said that she felt betrayed. I am pretty sure hers was one of the voted that went to Chaffetz on the third round.
Sometime after 4:30pm
On the drive home I listened to the radio hoping to hear the results. But there was nothing. When I got home, I turned on the TV for some results. I saw nothing.
Finally, I hopped on the Internet and found the results at LeadershipThatDelivers.com and found that Chaffetz missed the boat by less than 1 percent.
Jason Chaffetz: 563 (59.01 percent)
Chris Cannon: 391 (40.99 percent)
AGGHHHH!!!! It was frustrating.
I quickly typed up an email to Chaffetz’ Campaign manager and asked what she wanted me to do next. Then I started my focus on Mother’s Day, because my dear wife gave up a lot for me to do what I did today.