The Latest: Cautious optimism felt among Utah Democrats

Ben McAdams
The Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on the Utah Democratic convention (all times local):

__

11:35 a.m.

There’s a cautious optimism among many Democrats at the Utah party convention in downtown Salt Lake City.

In the overwhelmingly Republican state, some Democratic delegates Saturday say there’s a hope that they can have a larger impact than normal this year, riding on recent party success in Republican-leaning districts across the country.

“There is a lot of excitement that I have not felt before in this state,” says 75-year-old Don Carlile from northern Weber County.

Carlile says his representative, Republican Rob Bishop, is out of touch and too in line with President Donald Trump.

“There’s a lot of belief that there’s this blue wave thing going around,” says 28-year-old student Michael Esplin from suburban Millcreek.

Democrats will select nominees for four U.S. House seats and one open Senate spot that are all held by Republicans.

__

9:01 a.m.

Thousands of Utah Democrats are gathering in downtown Salt Lake City to select nominees for the state’s four congressional races, including a U.S. House contest that is expected to be Utah’s sole competitive race for federal office.

They are largely underdogs across the state.

But Democrats Saturday will be energized by surprising recent victories across the nation, benefiting from opposition to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies.

A major focus of the party will be Ben McAdams, who is looking to win the party’s nomination for the 4th Congressional District against Rep. Mia Love. That race is the only one considered competitive in deep-red Utah.

Elected state party delegates will choose nominees for U.S. Congress and the state legislature as well as set priorities for issue and identity-based caucus groups.

.