Summit County GOP shutout seen as ‘rallying cry in some ways’
The Summit County Republican Party on Tuesday is scheduled to gather in Kamas, anticipating an upbeat evening even in a year when the local GOP is not competing in campaigns in its home county.
The county’s Republican convention normally is a showcase event that provides the slate of candidates an opportunity to rally the party faithful in the months before the general populace typically turns toward politics. But it is unclear what sort of mood will be displayed on Tuesday as the county Republicans meet with the understanding that the party did not field a candidate in any of the County Courthouse campaigns, an extraordinarily rare scenario. The Summit County Republicans have, essentially, ceded control of the County Courthouse to the Democrats for at least the next two years.
The gathering on Tuesday will follow less than a month after party caucuses that selected delegates for the upcoming convention. The atmosphere at the Park City caucus location seemed subdued as compared to some held in the past.
The county convention normally involves crucial delegate votes as the candidates attempt to secure a nomination outright at the convention rather than being forced into a primary to decide the party nomination. But this year’s event will lack that drama since there is not a Republican competing for a County Courthouse post. The party does not anticipate casting a vote on candidates on Tuesday.
Anyone can attend the convention, but only county delegates previously selected are allowed to cast a vote if one is needed to decide an issue regarding party business.
The event starts at 6:30 p.m. at South Summit High School.
“Convention is part business, part pep rally,” said Brantley Eason, the chair of the Summit County Republican Party, projecting a crowd of between 150 and 200 people.
Eason said he anticipates at least 12 candidates competing in Statehouse or congressional campaigns or their surrogates will attend on Tuesday. They will deliver stump speeches. Eason said he is not sure whether Mitt Romney, a Senate candidate, will attend. He said it is also not certain whether Rep. Rob Bishop, the congressman whose district includes Park City and surrounding Summit County, will attend. Surrogates will appear on behalf of Romney and Bishop if they do not attend themselves, he said.
“Everybody’s really excited. There’s a lot of chatter about the different candidates running for office,” Eason said.
Tim Quinn, the state legislator from the Heber City area who represents Park City in the House of Representatives, is unopposed within the Republican Party for the nomination in District 54. He plans to attend the event on Tuesday and noted the lack of Republican candidates in the County Courthouse contests. He said the absence on the ballot illustrates the difficulties of the GOP in Summit County, long considered one of the state’s few Democratic strongholds.
“I hope it becomes a rallying cry in some ways,” Quinn said.
Quinn is seen as a staunch conservative and to the political right of the rank-and-file Republicans in Summit County. Quinn’s voting base is in Wasatch County. He was routed in Summit County in 2016, his first election, and won the District 54 seat by winning Wasatch County by a wide margin.
Quinn said his remarks at the convention will highlight his opposition to a piece of education-funding legislation that, he said, hurts the Park City School District. He also intends to mention his opposition to a bill that would have overturned Park City’s ban on plastic bags. He said he has represented the Park City side of District 54 well.
“On most issues, we would align fairly well,” Quinn said about himself and the Republicans in Summit County.
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The Park City Council primary election is slated for Aug. 13, but the ballots in the vote-by-mail contest were scheduled to be sent on Tuesday. The Summit County Clerk’s Office anticipates the ballots will arrive in mailboxes and post-office boxes on Friday or Saturday.