Panicked Utah GOP Chair Is Another Sign That GOP Stronghold Is In Play

June 20, 2016 10:11 a.m.

Utah Republicans’ concern that Hillary Clinton could beat Donald Trump in the state and endanger down-ballot Republicans bubbled to the surface over the weekend with the state GOP chair meeting with Trump.

Utah Republican Party Chair James Evans sat down with Trump in Las Vegas on Saturday before the presumptive nominee’s rally there. Evans asked Trump to campaign in Utah again and to tone down his “unproductive” rhetoric about Muslims and the Hispanic judge in the Trump University case, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. He said that voters in the state want “consistency and predictability.”

Evans told the Salt Lake Tribune that Trump “recognizes he shouldn’t have made those comments,” and that the candidate will definitely return to Utah after the national convention.

The state GOP chair also observed that Trump’s racially-tinged comments are not genuine, but part of an act.

“When you sit down with him you can see that it is more of a show, you know, and if anybody would know that somebody has that kind of sentiment in them, it would be me growing up in the South,” Evans, who is black, said. “I could spot it a mile away and you just don’t see that in him.”

In addition to meeting with Trump, Evans has launched a plan to help down-ballot Republicans win races despite the climate created by Trump, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The project is called “Plan T,” which Evans has said “may or may not be a coincidence,” according to the Tribune. But he told the paper this weekend that Plan T stands for “turnout.”

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