Utah Democratic Party Delegates chose Daisy Thomas as their new party chair at Saturday’s organization convention.
Thomas beat out seven other candidates in a race plagued by allegations of sexual harassment. She says she wants to strengthen a divided party.
“We can bring in as many people as we want but if we’re not solid, they’re going to fall right back out,” Thomas says.
Much of the internal fracturing happened this year after several women accused former party chair candidate Rob Miller of sexual harassment. Protestors showed up Saturday in purple and turned their backs to party leaders and candidates on the stage who they said defended Miller, shamed victims or took what they called “neutral positions”.
One of those protesters, Carly Crosby says party leaders never provided an adequate response to the allegations, which she says are indicative of a systematic problem.
“It’s not a one-off. It’s an attitude,” she says. “And the party does not condemn it enough. And the party does not put in policies that enable the judiciary committee to enact further in a way that protects victims.”
The protesters did not turn their backs on Daisy Thomas. Thomas says the group was highlighting a real problem.
“We need to address it,” she says. “We need to make sure that there is a statewide code of conduct that we can all agree upon because everyone has to feel safe and welcome in this party.”
Rob Miller attended Saturday’s convention but did not take part in any official party activities. He said he came to support a friend in a caucus race. He resigned from the party earlier this month. Miller maintains his words and actions were misconstrued and denies any sexual misconduct.