Utah's roll-call vote hails Oly volunteers, not Romney
Charlotte, N.C. • Utah Democratic Chairman Jim Dabakis took the mic late Wednesday at the convention for the roll call vote that officially gave President Barack Obama the party's nomination and, as is customary, said a little about the state, and took a not-so-veiled shot at GOP candidate Mitt Romney's history in Utah.
He said: "The great swing state of Utah, host of the most successful Winter Olympic games ever because of the astonishing commitment of 32,000 volunteers and $1.3 billion in taxpayer support, and yeah, because we built that, is thrilled in honor of Jim Judd to cast our 32 votes for President Barack Obama."
The big switch • Utah Democrats have one word for the decision to switch Obama's big speech from a massive football stadium to the much smaller convention hall because of the potential for rain "unfortunate."
Ali Sadler, a student at the University of Utah, will still get to see the president accept the nomination Thursday night but she's thinking of a friend attending Duke University, who had a community credential, but is now shut out.
"I think it is unfortunate that they changed it so less people can come," she said.
And some Utahns who thought they had credential may be in the same position as Sadler's friend.
Utah Democratic Party leaders were working late Wednesday to find 10 replacement passes for family members and friends of delegates and if that doesn't work, they will direct them to watch parties hastily planned by Florida and Alabama leaders.
Those parties should be well attended, since the Time Warner Cable Arena, where Obama will speak, holds about 50,000 fewer people than the Bank of America Stadium.
Scheduling an outdoor venue was a high-risk endeavor for the party, attempting to duplicate the scene from four years ago in Denver, when Obama addressed more than 80,000 people at Invesco Field.
Former Utah Democratic Chairman Wayne Holland was there.
"That night was almost surreal. People all the way to the top of the stadium," he said. "Nothing was ever like it and it is unfortunate that we can't do something similar here."
While Republicans argue the Democrats made the switch because they could not fill the seats, Holland said it was a safety move.
"One lightening strike would certainly dampen the convention," he said.
Fresh faces • Holland is one of only four Utahns who were Democratic delegates in both 2008 and 2012, highlighting that the 34 delegates from the state may be eager activists, but they have little experience on the national level.
The other three are Democratic National committeeman Joe Hatch, committeewoman Patrice Arent, a state lawmaker, and state Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero.
Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis has been to one other convention, the 1980 gathering in New York, but at the time he was a radio talk show host.