Henry Glasheen, the leader of the Summit County Republican Party, has declared himself a candidate to become the chairman of the state GOP, a powerful position in the hierarchy of Utah's dominant political party.

Glasheen, 51 years old and a Jeremy Ranch resident, has served as the chairman of the local Republicans for four years. He is not seeking re-election to a third term when the Summit County GOP picks its chairman at a gathering on Thursday. Glasheen is a money manager for a Los Angeles-based asset-management firm.

Glasheen wants to bring the state Republicans together, saying he would represent the various interest groups within the party. He said there are "warring factions" inside the state Republican Party. He said the Republicans, broadly, should focus their efforts on budget and financial items rather than social issues like gay marriage and abortion.

"I think the Republican Party has a brand problem. I think we're being mischaracterized," Glasheen said.

He will seek the chairmanship on a platform that includes:

 

  • increasing voter participation by Republicans

     

  • widening fundraising efforts by the state GOP

     

  • reforming the caucus process in a reasonable manner


    The Republican Party has enjoyed widespread success in Utah in recent years, including holding the governor's mansion, both houses of the Legislature and all but one of the state's delegation in Washington, D.C.

    Glasheen serves as the county chairman, though, in one of the state's reliably Democratic areas. The Summit County Republican Party has made only limited electoral inroads in the county itself during Glasheen's time as the chairman. He considers his chairmanship a success nonetheless, saying Republican turnout has increased in elections, the party has done well raising money and it has fielded strong candidates.

    His chairmanship stretched through the tense 2012 election cycle. The county Republicans had envisioned better results in the local campaigns last November, buoyed by the popularity of Mitt Romney.

    The returns, though, were not as the local GOP expected. The Democrats retained four of the five seats on the Summit County Council. The Republicans were pleased, however, with Kraig Powell's ability to fend off a Democratic challenge for one of the local state House of Representatives seats.

    The deadline for someone to submit their name as a candidate for the state chairman is April 18. Delegates to the state Republican convention will choose a chairman on May 18 at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.

    Glasheen would be the second consecutive chairman of the Utah Republican Party with close ties to Summit County. The current chairman, Thomas Wright, is the owner and president of Summit Sotheby's International Realty, which is based in Park City.