Utah Democrats head to Park City to choose a new leader
Democrats are scheduled to gather in Park City on Saturday for the party’s state convention, heading to one of Utah’s most reliably blue locales as the state’s minority party readies to select a new leader.
The state organizing convention is slated for Park City High School starting at 8:30 a.m. and adjourning sometime after noon. The key task involves choosing the next chair of the party. A vice chair will also be selected. The chair of the state’s Democratic Party holds one of the crucial posts in the party apparatus. Although the person does not necessarily need to hold elected political office themselves, they may rally Democrats to mount campaigns and then throw the support of the party behind them.
Nobody from Park City or surrounding Summit County is a candidate to become the chair of the party. The Summit County Democratic Party, though, is readying for Saturday nonetheless. Meredith Reed, the chair of the Democratic Party in Summit County, said in an interview relationships could be built with Democrats from elsewhere in the state during the convention.
She said she does not hold a specific role in the convention based on her position in the local party. Reed said, though, the decision to hold the event in Park City shows the Democrats are interested in a statewide political effort.
“I think the party, overall, is paying attention to the state broadly,” Reed said, noting that having a convention in a place like Park City illustrates the importance of areas outside the Salt Lake Valley to the Democratic strategy. “I do think it reflects the importance of other counties.”
She said the discussions at the upcoming convention could be beneficial during the 2020 campaigns, when Statehouse and congressional seats are on the ballot. Reed explained the conversations that start at the convention could extend toward the election. The talks that will be held on Saturday could be of assistance as Democrats attempt to win Republican-controlled seats, she said.
“The communications, conversations you have that continue throughout, not just Saturday,” Reed said.
The Park City area has long been a heavily Democratic enclave as it attracted newcomers from the coasts who brought with them their left-leaning values. While the East Side of Summit County is more conservative with a strong Republican presence, the Democrats have made inroads there as well. The current roster of the Summit County Council is 5-0 Democratic.
The convention on Saturday is scheduled months before the Democrats will start deciding the party’s presidential candidate and at a time when the Park City Council election, which is nonpartisan, is the key item on the local ballot. But the leader who is selected at the convention is expected to begin work on the 2020 campaign upon taking office.
The 2020 election involves the governor’s office as well as the Statehouse and congressional seats. Some of the campaigns have already started while others will likely be launched well before the official beginning next year.
The convention starts at 8:30 a.m. with registration for state delegates while the first caucusing session is scheduled at 9 a.m. Opening remarks are slated for noon followed by party business like a report about policies and the platform. The election of the chair, vice chair and other party leaders is set for later in the afternoon.
The candidates for chair of the party are:
• Daisy Thomas, who is the incumbent
• Robert Comstock
• Becky Moss
• Jeff Merchant
More information is available on the party’s website: utahdemocrats.org.
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