Several Davis County Republicans are trying to oust their local party chair because he wasn’t registered with the party when was elected.
Davis County GOP Chair Phill Wright believes the whole thing is a big mistake. He says he inadvertently failed to check a box declaring himself a Republican on a provisional ballot in 2012 and never knew that it caused his status to change.
“It would have been great if someone had told me right then, looking at the form, oh you forgot to check which box," he says. "Nobody did. It would have been great if I had received a phone call from the county or a letter immediately saying you didn’t check the box.”
He says he didn’t find out about the change until two years later when he went to vote in last month’s primary election. His critics say it’s inexcusable that he didn’t know about it earlier and that there should have been several mailers sent to his house that indicated he was unaffiliated. But Wright says he didn’t receive any of those and would have overlooked it even if he had.
“Why would I arbitrarily check to see if I was a registered Republican, or to see if I’m still a registered Republican? I wouldn’t do that any more than I would check to see if I’m still a U.S. Citizen," he says. "People don’t just do that. They just don’t decide to call the county one day and say, ‘Hey, am I still a Republican? I have been for the past 15 years, just checking to see if I’m still a Republican.’”
Wright says he immediately fixed the problem when he discovered it and is once again registered as a Republican.
While Wright acknowledged that the effort to oust him is real, he would not tell KUER who is behind the effort. We also contacted more than a dozen county party members, some of whom sit on the county central committee. They all refused to comment on who specifically is involved in the effort to expel Wright.
In an email to KUER Davis County GOP Vice-Chair Joe Levi says he’s disappointed a small group is trying to operate outside of their bylaws and encourages anyone with a concern to contact the Davis County GOP’s ethics committee to file a complaint.