Mia Love, Jason Chaffetz in the GOP convention spotlight

Published: Sunday, Aug. 26 2012 6:00 p.m. MDT

“We’re going to have a lot of people paying attention to the state of Utah,” Love said. “There are a lot of people who have confidence in me.”

Chaffetz said Love should do just fine.

“You don’t want to create your own YouTube moment, but in three minutes you can’t screw it up too bad,” he said. “There’ll be somebody. You just don’t want to be that guy.”

As for his planned speech, Chaffetz said he’ll make it clear why he’s been at Romney’s side since the early days of the campaign, when many Republicans across the country were backing other candidates.

“I want to carry the banner of fiscal conservatism. I want to look back and say I did everything I could possibly do to help fire Barack Obama,” Chaffetz said.

He’s also not shy about saying he’s looking to raise his own profile even more.

“There are 435 members in Congress. You’ve got to find a way to break out,” Chaffetz said. “It’s important to Utah, because if I’m going to be influential and have a voice, (I have to) break out of the clutter.”

Utah’s delegation to the national convention includes several former congressional candidates who saw their hopes of finding support for their campaigns in Tampa dashed when they were defeated at the state GOP convention earlier this year.

Stephen Sandstrom, who resigned from the Legislature to run for Congress only to lose the nomination to Love, said he’s still excited about attending his first national convention.

He said he expects the convention to offer similar opportunities to meet the fundraisers and others who help win races as the trips he took to Washington while still in the running for Congress.

“You’re not going to make it if you’re not out there working with people,” Sandstrom said, describing himself as keeping his political options open and looking to build alliances. “I fully anticipate doing that.”

Dave Clark, who lost his race for the 2nd District congressional nomination to Chris Stewart at the state convention, said Tampa is a good opportunity for candidates like Love to grab the limelight.

“This is a great opportunity to try to have some of those doors opened, or to continue to open other doors,” Clark, a former Utah House speaker, said.

He said he won’t be trying too hard to make those connections himself in Tampa, instead just enjoying his third time as a national convention delegate.

“Quite frankly, it is a great pageantry. It is a lot of fun. If you’re interested in this kind of thing, this is the Super Bowl,” Clark said.

Stewart is skipping the convention to campaign. Although he did not run for a delegate slot, Stewart was invited to Tampa by the state party.

“I recognize it’s a huge deal,” he said. “But we’re happy to be back here in the district. Someone’s got to do the dirty work.”

Stewart acknowledged it would be more difficult to attract attention to his race in what is now seen as a relatively safe seat for a Republican.

“We’re not the big draw down there anyway. Let’s be honest,” he said. “Not many people are going to the Republican convention to meet Chris Stewart.”

On Thursday, when Romney gives his acceptance speech, Stewart said he will be at state GOP headquarters watching the event on television along with other party members.

“Everyone else is out of town,” he laughed.

Matheson usually stays in Utah to campaign during the Democratic National Convention and this year is no exception.

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