State party conventions this weekend
April 22, 2014
After a busy several weeks of county party caucuses and conventions, state delegates from all 29 Utah counties will gather this weekend to determine which candidates to nominate in their respective districts. Both party’s conventions will be held Saturday, with the Democrats convening at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City and the Republicans gathering at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.
For Summit County state Democratic delegates, only two positions will be voted on – the State Democratic Party Chair (with the resignation of Sen. Jim Dabakis from the post) and U.S. House District 1 (currently occupied by Rep. Rob Bishop).
Summit County Democratic Party Chair Glenn Wright said Dabakis is still running for Utah Senate District 2, but will not pursue the state party chair position for ongoing health reasons. Wright said that Peter Corroon, former Salt Lake City mayor, and Richard Davis, a political science professor at Brigham Young University, are vying for the job.
Wright attested to the importance of the state party chair position.
"It’s a really demanding job. It’s year-round, almost full-time," Wright said. "A big part of the job is raising money. The entire time [Sen. Dabakis] was the state party chair, the Democrats outraised the Republicans on the state party level."
Delegates in U.S. House District 1 will also help to decide the Democratic challenger, choosing between Park City resident Donna McAleer and North Ogden resident Peter Clemens.
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Summit County’s Democratic Party will have 81 state delegates, a rather high number as it is based on the county’s Democratic turnout during the last general election.
Summit County Republicans, meanwhile, will have 47 state delegates, and county party chair Tal Adair said he believes all of them will attend Saturday’s convention.
Four races that concern Summit County will be voted on during the state Republican convention, including U.S. House District 1, where Rep. Bishop faces a Republican challenger in Provo resident David Yu-Lin Chiu.
Also facing in-party challengers are Utah 54th Dist. Rep. Kraig Powell (challenged by Heber resident Wylder Smith), 53rd Dist. Rep. Melvin Brown (challenged by Morgan resident Blaine Hone and Wanship resident John Zimmerman) and 26th Dist. Sen. Kevin Van Tassell (challenged by Vernal resident Susan Hacking Horrocks).
For each party, candidates in all races facing at least one challenger will have to secure at least 60 percent of the delegate vote to become the party nominee and avoid a June primary election.
Party convention locations and schedules are:
Democratic convention – Saturday, April 26, Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 SW Temple, Salt Lake City; registration at 7:30 a.m., caucus session 1 at 7:45 a.m., caucus session 2 at 9 a.m., call to order 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit utahdemocrats.org.
Republican convention – Saturday, April 26, South Towne Expo Center, Sandy; registration at 7:30 a.m., call to order at 10 a.m. For more information, visit utgop.org.