ST. GEORGE — President Joe Biden swept the Utah Democratic primary on Super Tuesday while former president Donald Trump is projected to be the winner of the state’s GOP presidential preference poll.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a Super Tuesday election night party at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, March 5, 2024 | Associated Press photo by Evan Vucci, St George News

For a few St. George Republicans who attended caucus night before voting, a Trump victory in Utah was likely a foregone conclusion.

“There’s not really anyone who is going to win other than Donald Trump,” St. George resident Zac Stucki said while attending his precinct meeting at Dixie High School on Tuesday night. Stucki’s precinct was one of many held at the high school while the local Democrats held their caucus at the Washington City Community Center.

Trump’s primary opponent is former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. By the end of the day, Trump had swept the majority of the presidential primaries while the Associated Press called Vermont for Haley.

Based on 65% of the precincts’ poll results, The Associated Press is projecting Trump as the winner of the Utah GOP’s preference poll with 58.2% of the vote to Haley’s 40.7% as of 2:10 a.m. Wednesday. The win grants Trump the state’s 40 Republican delegates.

“They call it Super Tuesday for a reason,” Trump said before a cheering crowd of supporters Tuesday night in Florida following a string of primaries victories. “This is a big one.”

Results from the Republican preference poll were expected to be posted sometime after 9 p.m. Tuesday; however, due to technical difficulties experienced at multiple caucus sites, the results were delayed.

Washington County Republicans in St. George gather at Dixie High School for caucus night on Super Tuesday to elect new precinct officers and delegates along with a presidential preference poll instead of a presidential primary, St. George, Utah, March 5, 2024 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Caucus night in Washington County (at least at Dixie High) appeared to go forward without incident as precinct meetings began around 7 p.m. During the meeting, precinct officers and delegates were elected or reelected and all took part in the presidential preference poll. Caucus business at the high school wrapped up around 8:15 p.m.

The poll results were tallied and then delivered to the Washington County Administration Building where party members waited to total up the collective results for the state. The first precincts began to arrive after 8:30 p.m. with the rest arriving soon after.

While the caucus in Washington County appeared to be uneventful, it was not the same for those attending a caucus elsewhere in the state.

Technical issues

Technical difficulties were reported at multiple Republican caucus sites, according to KSL.com. A system the state GOP had set up to allow party members to preregister for the caucus either crashed or sent notifications to caucus-goers that they were not registered voters when they indeed were.

This caused some people to give up in frustration and go home, while others were unhappy that the party was holding a preference poll instead of a regular primary, KSL.com reported.

Utah Republican Party Chairman Robert Axson told reporters he supports the caucus system and blamed the night’s issues on volunteers not showing up and a general lack of understanding of how the registering system worked.

Biden wins Utah

President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting of his Competition Council to announce new actions to lower costs for families in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., March 5, 2024 | Associated Press photo by Andrew Harnik, St. George News

Unlike the Republicans who were voting for who they want as the party’s presidential nominee, the Democrats held a mail-in primary.

“Most of us did our mail-in ballots and hope that Biden got a large percentage of that,” Chuck Goode, chair of the Washington County Democrat Party, told St. George News prior to the primary results being released.

According to election results posted on vote.utah.gov, Biden took 87.6% of the vote over challengers that included Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota and author Marianne Williamson. Biden’s win secures the state’s 34 Democratic delegates.

Closer to home, Biden garnered 91% of the Democrat vote in Washington County, while Iron County Democrats gave him 88.8% of their vote.

“Congratulations to President Biden and Vice President Harris on their overwhelming victory in tonight’s Utah primary,” Thom DeSirant, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, said in a press release. “These results show what I’ve been hearing on the ground every day: Democrats are fired up and ready to re-elect the Biden-Harris ticket in November. We simply cannot afford to have Donald Trump and his MAGA extremist movement back in the White House.”

As for the “chaos” that took place among the Republicans, DeSirant called it an embarrassment.

“The dysfunction of the Republican caucus is a total embarrassment,” he said. “Instead of opting to participate in a secure and accessible process through a state-run primary like the Utah Democratic Party did, the Utah GOP chose to shut out voter participation, so it should be no surprise that their caucuses devolved into disorganized chaos.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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