Democrats expect explosive meeting
July 15, 2006
Oakley Democrat Patrick Cone expects the Summit County Democratic Party to debate Monday about whether Democrats should retain Rob Weyher, the party’s embattled chairman, as their leader.
Cone sits on the Summit County Democratic Party Central Committee, which is scheduled to meet June 17 at 7 a.m. at the Spotted Frog Bookstore at Redstone Towne Center. The meeting is open to the public.
With Weyher facing an array of criminal charges including assault against a police, suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and attempting to pay a candidate to withdraw from a political race, some Democrats are calling for him to resign as party chair.
While insisting he won’t resign, Weyher says he doesn’t intend to seek another two-year term as chairman in 2007.
He hinted recently at running against Democratic Summit County Commissioner Sally Elliott for her seat in 2008. Elliott has already declared her intention to seek a second term.
But first, Weyher could go on trial for misdemeanor charges of assaulting a police officer, driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal lane change and speeding. A one-day jury trial is scheduled for Weyher in Third District Court in Silver Summit on Aug. 30.
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Meanwhile, Weyher could be arraigned July 26 in Salt Lake County Justice Court on a separate charge that alleges he offered to pay Salt Lake Democrat Josh Ewing to withdraw from the race to replace state Rep. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, in House District 25. Attempting to bribe a candidate to leave a race is a class B misdemeanor.
Weyher admitted that in May he offered to cover Ewing’s campaign expenses if the candidate would end the bout with Johnson by withdrawing.
But he intends to plead not guilty to the charge.
"[Weyher] offered me what amounts to a bribe to get out of the race," Ewing recently told The Park Record.
Johnson trounced Ewing in a Democratic primary June 27.
Until the charges are resolved, Cone insists Weyher should resign.
Cone on Monday also expects Central Committee members to discuss whether Mike Marty, as a former Summit County Democratic Party chairman, is entitled to his automatic seat on the board.
Neither county nor state Democratic Party bylaws reserve a seat on central committees for former party chairpersons, Cone said.
Cone in the past has feuded with Marty and Weyher, who are political allies. He said he expects to attend Monday’s meeting.