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Sen. Hatch Urges Utah To Deliver State To Trump

Julia Ritchey, KUER
Sen. Orrin Hatch greets people at a campaign rally for Donald Trump in the state capitol.

Sen. Orrin Hatch says he believes the presidential election will be close, but is urging Utah Republicans to deliver the state for Donald Trump.

Sen. Hatch made a last-minute appearance at a rally Tuesday in the rotunda of the state Capitol, organized by the Utah GOP and Donald Trump’s local campaign.  

In brief remarks, Hatch told the crowd of about a hundred that while Independent candidate Evan McMullin seemed like a “nice man,” a vote for him was tantamount to a vote for Hillary Clinton.

Hatch told reporters afterward he believes Republicans are wavering because of Trump’s flamboyant personality.

“Some Utahns have held against him some of the problems of the past,” said Hatch. “All I can say is I’ve seen an evolution of Donald Trump since I first got on the campaign trail with all these people. And it’s been an evolution for the better.”   

Hatch underscored what many Republicans see as the most important reason to support the Republican presidential nominee, which is his vow to nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court.

It was a rainy day of dueling campaign events in Salt Lake on Tuesday, as Utah’s battleground status has sent a flood of attention to the state just weeks before election day.


Credit Julia Ritchey, KUER
Actor Sean Astin talks to a reporter after a get-out-the-vote campaign event at the Salt Lake County Clerk's office. Astin has been traveling the country as a Hillary Clinton surrogate.

Utah Democrats held their own morning press conference for a get-out-the-vote event at the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office featuring actor Sean Astin, better known as Samwise Gamgee from the "Lord of the Rings" movies.

“I’m an actor, our job is to care,” he said. “We’re sort of professional caring people. But I watch the news and I think, ‘I wish there was something I could do to help.’ And there is. Nothing has the power to help people like the federal government.”

Astin says Clinton will help families through policies such as universal pre-Kindergarten and protecting Pell Grants for low-income college students.

The last few polls show Clinton, McMullin and Trump in a three-way battle, with Trump narrowly leading with a little more than 30 percent of the vote.

Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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