SALT LAKE CITY -- Donald Trump may not be Utah’s choice and that could be setting the state up as a last stand against the Trump machine.
“The establishment, if that’s still a term, is not very pleased with the Donald Trump choice,” said Neil Ashdown, former Chief of Staff for Gov. Jon Huntsman.
It may be a big reason why Utah landed the next Republican presidential debate, set for March 21.
“And you have to wonder if the Republicans specifically put a debate in Utah so that they could give someone else a win,” said Maura Carabello, President of the Exoro Group, a public policy consultant that often works on campaigns in Utah.
Who else might the party be trying set up for victory?
“Most of Utah’s delegation has come out in support of, actually, Marco Rubio,” Ashdown said.
Rubio’s support in Utah may also be squashing the hope for a familiar face, Mitty Romney, to make a late entry and try to win the nomination on the party floor at the Republican National Convention.
"Utah always wants to talk about the Mitt Romney factor. I would say that was in play before Marco Rubio staked out the territory that said, ‘I'm that alternative,’" Carabello said.
Both Democrats and Republicans caucus in Utah on March 22.