GOP picks former Utah congresswoman to head rules panel

AP News
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Posted: Jun 17, 2016 6:42 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chief of the Republican Party named a former Utah congresswoman on Friday to head the rules committee at the party's national convention next month, elevating a political veteran from a state where Donald Trump absorbed one of his worst beatings in his quest for the presidential nomination.

Enid Mickelsen's post is important because some dissident delegates say they'll try to persuade the rules committee — and the entire GOP convention — to change procedures and make it easier to find an alternative candidate to Trump. That drive seems like an uphill effort.

Mickelsen, 58, is Utah's committeewoman on the Republican National Committee, a veteran of the party's rules committee and former chairman of the Utah GOP. She's been an attorney and talk show host.

Trump lost badly in Utah's presidential caucuses last March to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, winning only around 14 percent of the vote. The state is a home to Mitt Romney, the GOP's 2012 presidential nominee and one of Trump's sharpest critics.

Mickelsen was selected by Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

She served one term in the House beginning in 1995. Her congressional career ended after the revelation of a financial scandal involving her then-husband, Joe Waldholtz, who served 21 months in federal prison for bank, election and tax fraud. She dropped her bid for a second House term and divorced Waldholtz.

Ron Kaufman, veteran RNC committeeman from Massachusetts, will be rules committee co-chair.