"I think that loyalty will continue," Lockart said. "I have to say I think Romney did a good job representing the party. I'm personally in no way ashamed of the way he represented the party."
Quin Monson, head of BYU's Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, suggested it's irrelevant whether Utahns continue to support Romney even as the national party leaves him behind.
"I don't know that it matters. I'm not sure it matters either way. He's not running again. He's not running for anything in Utah," Monson said. "He's not on the stage anymore. The election's over."
Jowers said it's not clear how Utahns will react to seeing how the GOP elite treated Romney. "It's a good question," he said when asked if some might even leave the Republican Party in protest.
"My guess is these little cheap potshots will be very short-lived," Jowers said. "At some point, the Republican Party has to start addressing its future. I think Romney will be greatly respected and appreciated for his candidacy when all is said and done."
Wright said the national party clearly needs to learn from Romney's loss, but the initial reaction by key Republicans won't result in any Utah defection.
"Mitt Romney has done Utah a great service. He politically activated a lot of great people," the Utah GOP chairman said. "They're not going to hang their head and take their ball and go home. They'll be back."
Even Utah Democrats are unhappy with the way Romney has been criticized since the election, Utah State Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis said.
"When your guy gets attacked the way they're attacking him, you're going to circle the wagons," he said. "Utah Democrats know Mitt Romney. We didn't have this kind of diabolical view that was portrayed."
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