‘The Rundown’: Romney and Owens get the cold shoulder

Your Wednesday morning political cheat sheet

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The Salt Lake County Republican Party has a rule that any elected official who lives in the county is automatically a delegate to the county and state convention. Unfortunately, the party did not follow its own rules, and two members of Congress are now out in the cold.

The Salt Lake County GOP did not include Sen. Mitt Romney and Rep. Burgess Owens’ names on the official list of 950 delegates submitted to the state party ahead of this weekend’s state convention. Neither gets to vote Saturday on who will lead the party for the next two years.

Whether it was an oversight or on purpose is the subject of some debate.

Newly elected party chair Chris Null admitted Romney and Owens were omitted from the delegate list, saying the error went unnoticed until after the April 22 deadline for submitting delegate lists.

“The Salt Lake County Republican Party apologies to Senator Romney and Representative Owens. We support our elected officials and appreciate their service and involvement in the Party. We will make every effort to ensure this does not happen again,” said Null in an email.

Null added that they’d make sure to give Romney and Owens delegate status as soon as they can, but that probably won’t be until next year. However, several county party members said privately Romney was left off the list as punishment for his votes to convict former President Donald Trump in both of his impeachment trials. They said Owens was also left off the list intentionally, but for unexplained reasons.

There may be a movement on Saturday morning to add Owens as a delegate, which also could include Romney.

Stay tuned.

Here’s what you need to know for Wednesday morning

  • Rep. Burgess Owens falsely claimed during a TV interview Salt Lake City “defunded” police by $5 million, and murders went up by 40%. The city’s murder rate did jump to 33%, but there were only four more murders last year [Tribune].

  • Utah’s housing market is so tight that some buyers are offering $100k over the asking price. Average prices jumped 17% to 23% in Salt Lake County [Tribune].

  • Utah First Lady Abby Cox proposes several measures to help combat what she sees as an “empathy crisis” [Tribune].

  • The independent redistricting commission is grappling with how to redraw Utah’s political boundaries while maintaining public trust. Former Rep. Rob Bishop complained that the just-released 2020 Census data is already out of date [Tribune].

  • President Joe Biden will address a joint session of Congress this evening to mark his first 100 days in office. Only 200 people will be in attendance [NYT].

  • Biden will present another $1 trillion+ spending package tonight. The proposal will offer Americans two years of universal preschool and two years of free community college regardless of income status [Axios].

  • The Republican response will be given by South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott [WaPo].

  • Must-watch interview. D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack while defending the U.S. Capitol from a mob trying to stop the certification of the 2020 election, described in vivid detail the terror he experienced on January 6. He also called out Republican officials who have tried to whitewash those events while defending former President Donald Trump’s role in the violence [CNN].

  • Top White House officials have been quietly meeting with Republican senators who crafted an offer to Biden’s infrastructure spending plan [Axios].

  • A new poll puts Biden’s favorability rating at 58%. 85% of Democrats give him an “A” or “B” for his first 100 days in office. 44% of independents gave him the same grades [Politico].

  • The CDC says masks no longer have to be worn outdoors except in crowded places. Unvaccinated people are still urged to wear masks [NYT].

  • The U.S. economy looks set to soar. Consumer confidence hit a 14-month high in April as more businesses reopened as pandemic restrictions loosened [Reuters].

  • Gasoline may be challenging to find this summer, but not because of a supply shortage. There are not enough tanker truck drivers needed to deliver the gas [CNN].

  • JPMorgan Chase expects its employees back to return to the office on a rotating basis by July [CNBC].

  • Idaho passed a “heartbeat” abortion ban, which prohibits all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected [CNN].

  • India’s COVID-19 outbreak continues to rage. The country has reported more than 17 million cases, but experts fear the actual number could be 30 times greater [CNN].

  • Florida officials are releasing close to a billion genetically modified mosquitoes to eradicate a type of mosquito that carries several diseases [Daily Mail].

  • The Burning Man festival has been canceled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic [NYT].

Wednesday morning’s Utah news roundup


  • Utah Gov. Spencer Cox names acting state treasurer - Tribune

  • Most Utahns, including Salt Lake County residents, say they’re ready to return to theaters, restaurants and festivals this summer - Tribune

  • Fourth Utahn charged after allegedly storming the U.S. Capitol - Tribune

  • Utah Independent Redistricting Commission discusses timeline for reviewing boundaries - Daily Herald


  • Utahns in Congress say Taiwan can teach the world how to handle COVID-19 - Deseret News


  • Utah has administered 2.073 million COVID-19 vaccines - Tribune

Environment & development

  • Cottonwood Heights neighbors ask LDS Church to preserve small park instead of selling it for development - Tribune

  • Big chunk of SLC’s Main Street will close to cars — maybe permanently - FOX 13

Local government

  • Density debate: Taylorsville residents oppose apartments, city says they’re out of room - KUTV

  • Park City consultancy deal includes $185-per-hour rate for former City Hall staffer - Park Record

On the opinion pages

  • Nick Huey: Fellow Republicans, let’s get off the menu - Tribune

  • Gordon S. Jones: Private investment was key for COVID-19 vaccine - Tribune

  • Jason Keith: As Utah faces extreme drought, it’s time for common-sense climate solutions - Tribune

— Tribune reporter Karina Andrew contributed to this newsletter.