Summit County political parties ready for upcoming conventions
While the highly anticipated presidential race for the 2020 election is still a year away, Summit County’s political parties are likely gearing up for elections that hit a little closer to home.
It’s time for residents to break out their party credentials because both the Summit County Republican and Democratic parties’ organizing conventions are scheduled to be held in the coming weeks. The Republicans will gather Tuesday, while the Democrats will convene May 11.
Every couple of years, the parties elect new leaders who will be tasked with running the meetings and conventions for the upcoming election cycle.
The Republican Party convention will be held on Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. in the South Summit High School auditorium in Kamas.
At the meeting, delegates will be voting on the party’s new executive committee. The Summit County Republican Party chair, vice chair, treasurer, secretary, and four regional chairs will be elected. The regional chairs include representatives from Park City, North and South Summit, and the Snyderville Basin.
Anyone is invited to attend the convention. However, only members of the county’s central committee will have voting rights.
Summit County Republican Party Chair Brantley Eason said the convention is being held in conjunction with Wasatch County’s Republican Party Convention. Invitations have been extended to the party’s local and state elected leaders.
Eason said Summit County’s Republican Party is in a “good position right now.”
“You’ve got the national party, state party and county party and we are all focused on different areas,” he said. “But, in the county we are focused on local issues and our communication is up. We have a good amount of donors coming in and we have a good core here in the county.”
Eason anticipates some leadership changes at the state level during the state organizing convention, scheduled to be held May 4 at Utah Valley University in Orem.
“We’ll see what happens next month,” he said. “There are a lot of people vying for the positions that will set the tone for the direction of the state party, so we will see how that fares and what that means for us.”
The Summit County Democratic Convention will be held at noon on Saturday, May 11, at Park City High School. During the convention, the Summit County Democratic executive committee will be nominated, which includes about a dozen positions, such as chair and the three vice chairs.
The executive committee will also be tasked with selecting a candidate to serve as the Summit County assessor through the end of 2019 after the unexpected resignation of Steve Martin. Martin will vacate his post on April 30. The party’s nominee will need to be approved by the Summit County Council.
“Any Summit County resident is allowed to come and visit and we certainly encourage public participation,” said Cheryl Butler, Summit County Democratic Party chair.
Butler anticipates representatives from Better Boundaries, TRUCE (Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education) and supporters of Medicaid expansion will attend the convention, along with local and state elected leaders.
“We expect to hear from them about what is happening and what the future holds for those propositions that the Legislature worked to modify,” she said.
The county’s convention serves as a “build up” to the state party convention, Butler said. The state organizing convention will be held Saturday, June 22, at Park City High School. Candidates for the state party’s leadership roles are expected to attend the county convention.
The list of delegates for the state convention will be finalized on May 11, Butler said. She added, “We are really looking forward to that.”
“We have almost 90 representatives from Summit County so we have a very large delegation,” she said. “We are awarded that number and overly represented at the state level because the party recognizes the strength of commitment here in the county.”
The county convention provides party members with an opportunity to gather and plan ahead for the 2020 election, Butler said. She said there is a “huge continuation of energy” that is currently behind the Democratic Party.
“People are really wanting to get organized around the issues and candidates for 2020,” she said. “We have so many presidential nominees that part of being a Democrat is trying to keep track of all the moving pieces. In Utah we are going to be some of the earliest voters on the national stage, and we are already seeing candidates that are coming to visit us here because of that.”
Jennifer McDonald, a self-described lifelong Republican, was selected as the Summit County Republican Party chair last week.