GOP slams signature-gathering route at Summit County convention
Phil Wright, the Utah Republican Party vice-chair, slammed the state’s new signature-gathering route that candidates can take to bypass conventions and caucuses during his opening remarks at the Summit County Republican Party Convention on Thursday.
"Utah has the accolades it does because we have a system where we can choose the most qualified candidates. Not the candidates that have the most money, power or fame and the way we do that is what we do tonight," Wright told party members. "We vet the candidates through our elected representatives of the party … If S.B. 54 is not repealed or if the state party does not succeed in removing the signature path, there will not be a reason for any of you or any of us to ever attend a caucus or convention again."
Several of the GOP candidates and elected officials who attended the convention also voiced their support of the party’s position on the issue while addressing constituents at South Summit High School.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said "we need a caucus system," adding that it is critical for the attorney general "to be here and be responsive to your issues in Summit County."
Reyes is hoping to retain his seat to "continue to file lawsuits where necessary" and prosecute offenses such as white-collar crimes, drug and human trafficking, and identity fraud. Reyes said he is a vocal supporter of Second Amendment rights and limiting the overreaching powers of the government. He has three opponents from other parties.
Seth Winterton, who is challenging District 53 incumbent Mel Brown (R-Coalville), criticized the Legislature for overregulation and called on legislators to quit providing "lip service" in the areas of education, business and economic growth.
"When I worked in the (state) Department of Agriculture the governor would say, ‘find statutes and regulations you are not using and try to eliminate those,’" Winterton said. "But this session we had more than 1,000 bills introduced and some 450 that he was presented to sign The government is not the solution, it is the problem."
Brown was elected to the Legislature in 2007 and previously served from 1987 until 2000. He said the government is "too big and too intrusive and interferes with our lives."
"I would like to see us go back to our constitutional roots and make sure we don’t overreach," Brown said. "This is what I have been standing for and will continue to stand for."
Morgan County resident Logan Wilde is also seeking to become the party’s nominee for District 53. He said Republicans are "losing their voice along the Wasatch Back." Wilde specifically addressed property rights and water access as areas where a representative with a strong voice is needed.
"Our representatives and our Legislature have often tried to work within the system and have kind of stayed back out of the issues," Wilde said. "We need someone that will fight for you and someone who will stick their neck out for you."
House District 54 Rep. Kraig Powell (R-Heber) announced on Wednesday that he was ended his re-election bid and did not attend the convention. Powell’s challenger Tim Quinn complimented Powell on his years of service and his decision to withdraw.
Moving on to his opponent, Quinn said the difference between them is obvious.
"I believe keeping taxes as low as possible and keeping more money in your pockets," Quinn said. "One of the greatest ways to encourage a robust economy is by keeping regulation of small business at a minimum My votes in the House will be based on input from constituents on both sides of the issues, but always guided by principles."
U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, who appeared via video, said when he ends his tenure as a congressman he wants to have "less control of your lives than when I came in here." Bishop discussed rebuilding the country’s military defense and addressed the discussions regarding his role in wanting to help Puerto Rico climb out of its financial hole.
David Yu-Lin Chiu, who is also running for District 1 and challenging Bishop as the party’s nominee, said he is in the race to further constitutional conservatism.
"The nation is needing the constitutional conservatism of Mike Lee. He has broken the mold of what you can expect from your elected officials," Chiu said. "Need to restore a trust in freedom The picture of my family represents why I am distinctly and extraordinarily qualified about issues about national defense, pro-life, immigration and religious liberty."
Utah Sen. Allen Christensen (R-North Ogden) is facing Deana Froerer in the District 19 race. Christensen acknowledged his "liberal Democratic opponent," saying he will "not take the race for granted.
"I thought we would have the health issues totally under control years ago and we don’t yet and I’m not comfortable walking away yet at this point," Christensen said.
Utah Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, Utah State Auditor John Dougall, Utah State Treasurer David Damschen, candidate for governor Carlos Tavares, candidate for state treasurer Merrill Cook, and representatives for U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and governor candidate Jonathan Johnson also addressed the crowd.
The following is a list of all the candidates that have filed for office:
- U.S. Senate
- Incumbent Mike Lee: Republican
- Misty K. Snow: Democrat
- Jonathan Swinton: Democrat
- Bill Barron: Unaffiliated
- Jade Tuan Quoc Vo: Democrat
- Stoney Fonua: Independent American
- U.S. House District 1
- Incumbent Rob Bishop: Republican
- Craig Bowden: Libertarian
- Chadwick H. Fairbanks II: Unaffiliated
- David Yu-Lin Chiu: Republican
- Peter C. Clemens: Democratic
Utah Elected Officials
- Governor-Lt. Governor
- Incumbent Gary R. Herbert/Spencer J. Cox: Republican
- Gary R. Van Horn/Patricia Kent: Independent American
- L.S. Brown/Hal B. Massey: Unaffiliated
- Superdell Schanze: Independent American
- Brian E. Kamerath/Barry Evan Short: Libertarian
- Mike Weinholtz/Kim Bowman: Democratic
- Jonathan Johnson/Robyn Bagley: Republican
- Nate G. Jensen: Republican
- Vaughn R. Cook/Jan Vandenberghe Garbett: Democratic
- Carlos J. Tavares JR.: Republican
- Ken Larsen: Libertarian
- Attorney General
- Incumbent Sean D. Reyes: Republican
- Michael W. Isbell: Independent American
- Jon V. Harper: Democratic
- W. Andrew McCullough: Libertarian
- State Auditor
- Incumbent John Dougall: Republican
- Jared Green: Independent American
- Mike Mitchell: Democratic
- State Treasurer
- Incumbent David Damschen: Republican
- Richard Proctor: Constitution
- Neil A. Hansen: Democratic
- Merrill Cook: Republican
- Utah Senate District 19
- Deana Froerer: Democratic
- Incumbent Allen M. Christensen: Republican
- Utah House District 28
- Incumbent Brian S. King: Democratic
- State House District 53
- Incumbent Melvin R. Brown: Republican
- Cole R. Capener: Democratic
- Seth R. Winterton: Republican
- Logan Wilde: Republican
- State House 54
- Rudi Kohler: Democratic
- Tim Quinn: Republican
- County Council Seat A (4-Year Term)
- Incumbent Roger Armstrong: Democrat
- County Council Seat B (4-Year Term)
- Colin DeFord: Republican
- Doug Clyde: Democrat
- County Council Seat C (4-Year Term)
- Incumbent Kim Carson: Democrat
- County Council Seat E (2-Year Term)
- Glenn Wright: Democrat
- Incumbent Tal Adair: Republican
The state Republican convention will take place on Saturday, April 23, at the Salt Palace Convention Center, in Salt Lake City. The Democratic convention was scheduled to start on Friday, April 22, and will continue through Saturday, April 23, at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
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