GOP would-be delegates duel over Orrin Hatch’s fate at crowded caucus meetings

SALT LAKE CITY  — Dueling views over Utah’s senior U.S. senator dominated Thursday’s GOP caucus meetings, where stunning turnout pitted packed rooms of delegates against each other over Orrin Hatch’s fate.

Republican faithful practically mobbed meeting places like school cafeterias, gymnasiums and homes, with observers noting that in some cases the precinct meetings easily attracted eight, nine or even 10 times the attendance of years past.

“I am amazed by the number of citizens who took action and attended their neighborhood caucus tonight,” said state party Chairman Thomas Wright. “Our preliminary estimates are a statewide turnout of at least 125,000 Republicans and as high as 200,000. Voters were heard loud and clear tonight.”

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