Kera Birkeland is the first Morgan County resident in at least the last two decades to be named as a national Republican Party delegate.
Out of 3779 ballots cast by state delegates at the April Republican State Convention, Birkeland collected 1,542 votes to earn her an at-large position and the chance to participate in the 2016 Republican National Convention July 18-21 in Cleveland, Ohio. Such conventions take place every four years.
She will join the ranks of 24 other national delegates from Utah including power houses such as U.S. Senator Mike Lee, Congresswoman Mia Love, Gov. Gary Herbert, and Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox. Birkeland had more votes than Attorney General Sean Reyes, Lee’s Chief of Staff Boyd Matheson, and Utah’s first lady, Jeanette Herbert.
“I was surprised,” Birkeland said. “We are everyday people you are sending there to elect a presidential candidate.”
While 185 Utah state delegates cast their hats in the ring for the opportunity, Birkeland said it was the Ted Cruz campaign’s endorsement that made a difference in her limited campaign.
Before the endorsement, Senator Mike Lee’s staff asked Birkeland to consider running for the national delegate position. After reviewing bios submitted by Birkeland and about 150 others, Lee and Cruz chose to endorse 25 Utahans including Birkeland.
At the national convention, Utah delegates are officially bound to vote for the Republican presidential nominee who was elected by their home state. In Utah’s case, this would be Ted Cruz. However, since Cruz has suspended his campaign, and if voting goes into a second round, Utah delegates would be free to vote their will in subsequent voting rounds.
“There is a lot of speculation, rumors and primaries that haven’t happened yet,” Birkeland said of the upcoming national convention. And she will be there first-hand to witness it.
National delegates may also vote on any changes to the party platform, if presented.
Birkeland and her husband, Lars, have lived in Morgan County for eight years. They are small business owners in ventures including Oil Vault and Mountain Green Kids Club. She is the mother of five, a foster parent, and former Morgan County Young Mother of the Year. She is active in Utah Mothers Association, MorePac and the Morgan Republic Party.
She has been active with the county’s Republican Party for years, working on several campaigns for over five years, volunteering at events, serving as a state delegate for two years, and currently chairing the county party and serving as a member of the Utah Republican Party executive committee.