Utah GOP

Brian Grimmett

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has recused himself from being involved with the state’s defense of SB54.

SB54 makes changes to Utah election law and allows candidates to bypass the caucus/convention system and appear on a primary ballot by gathering signatures from registered voters. The Utah Republican Party is suing the state over those changes because they say that it’s unconstitutional for a state to dictate to a party how they choose candidates.

Brian Grimmett

Leaders of the Utah State Republican Party are filing a lawsuit challenging the legality of  SB 54. The legislation passed this year changes the state’s caucus/convention system for nominating political candidates.

In a statement sent to KUER, Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans says the lawsuit should be seen as a friendly attempt to clarify the Constitutional boundaries between the state and political parties. He argues that the state should not be able to tell individual political parties how to elect their candidates.

Salt Lake Tribune Photo Pool

Republican Mia Love hopes she can win the seat after being narrowly defeated by incumbent Jim Matheson in 2012.  With Matheson announcing his retirement last year, Democrat Doug Owens has stepped into this year’s race with the hopes he can overcome a very popular GOP candidate. 

When Mia Love talks about her narrow defeat in 2012, the one fact she remembers specifically is the number of votes she lost by.

“768. Who’s counting?” says Love.

Only 768 votes.  But Love looks back on the race where she came up short as a learning experience.

Brian Grimmett

Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans is encouraging several legislative candidates to not participate in debates organized by groups that include Alliance for a Better Utah.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

  

Republicans dominate politics in eastern Utah’s conservative Uintah County. So, a vote recount and long wait for a winner in the county commission primary was unusual and tense. Mike McKee will keep his seat for a fourth term because there is no Democratic challenger. KUER’s Judy Fahys reports.

Incumbent County Commissioner Mike McKee sat in on the final tally of nearly 4,300 votes.

“This was a nail-biter: I won by three votes,” he said Wednesday.

Brian Grimmett

The latest state financial disclosure reports show that the Utah Democratic Party has a lot more money than the Utah GOP. That difference could mean something for the upcoming election.

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.

Brian Grimmett

Former Saratoga Springs mayor Mia Love won the state Republican nomination for Utah’s 4th congressional district.

Brian Grimmett

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes will be the Republican nominee in the special election to replace former AG John Swallow. Reyes was the only republican candidate running. He has been working as the AG since January when Governor Herbert appointed him to replace Swallow. At the GOP state convention on Saturday, Reyes reaffirmed his commitment to fighting for Utah’s Amendment 3.

Dan Bammes

Leaders of the Count My Vote ballot initiative appeared with legislative leaders at a rare Sunday news conference to announce a compromise on the effort to replace Utah’s caucus-convention system for nominating political candidates.

The deal preserves the caucus system, but it also allows candidates to get on a primary election ballot by gathering voter signatures on a petition – from one thousand for a legislative seat to 28-thousand for a statewide office such as governor.

A bill that would force political parties in Utah to change the current caucus and primary system cleared a hurdle in a Senate committee on Friday.  SB 54 would mandate that parties raise the threshold for office nominations to 65 percent of the delegate vote – up from 60 percent.  It would force parties to allow absentee voting at neighborhood caucus meetings and state party conventions.

Brian Grimmett

Leaders of the Count My Vote initiative joined members of the opposition to discuss their ballot measure Wednesday during a panel at the Sutherland Institute Legislative Policy Conference.

Brian Grimmett

Republican Candidates vying to replace former Attorney General John Swallow, faced off in a debate on Wednesday night. They answered questions that came from across the state using the Utah Education Network’s video conferencing infrastructure.

Brian Grimmett

Leaders of the Count My Vote initiative say they will continue to move forward with their efforts to replace the party caucuses with direct primaries even after state GOP delegates voted over the weekend to reform the current system.

Brian Grimmett

Utah Republican Party chairman James Evans addressed the media today about inflammatory comments made by Salt Lake County GOP Chairman Chad Bennion. Evans’ comments come more than a week after Bennion first said that District Attorney Sim Gill might be a cop hater and then helped promote a rally aimed against him.

Salt Lake County

Last week Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill determined that two West Valley City detectives were not justified in their shooting of an unarmed woman. In response, the County’s GOP Chairman Chad Bennion offered some harsh criticism of Gill that isn’t sitting well with some.

Andrea Smardon

Utah Republicans decided at their convention on Saturday to keep their system in place for choosing party nominees. A proposal to raise the percentage of votes needed to avoid a primary sparked heated debate about how best to give lesser-known candidates a fair shot. 

The wife of LDS President Thomas Monson passes away, the University of Utah receives a grant to research child asthma, and some members of the Utah Republican party propose a change to the delegate system.

Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright announced today that he will not seek re-election when the state GOP meets in May. 

Federal spending cuts affect Utah’s poor and hungry, Utah’s GOP Chairman says he won’t run for re-election, and Utah’s courts begin a new era of openness.

Utah State Senate
Dan Bammes

The increasing polarization of the political process in Utah and across the nation is the next issue identified by the Utah Foundation as part of its Utah Priorities Project.  In their open-ended survey, voters ranked partisan politics the 8th most important concern.

A former president who also served for many years in Congress once said, “Truth is the glue that holds government together.  Compromise is the oil that makes government go.”  Over the past several years, it has seemed at times that government was pretty low on that oil -- about ready to seize up.