Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Who Is Kathie Allen And How Does A Progressive Run For Congress In Beet-Red Utah?


Dr. Kathie Allen is a family physician who has practiced medicine in Utah for 30 years. As you probably know, she decided to challenge Jason Chaffetz this past February in the 2018 mid-term elections after, she told sum she "realized he had no intention of challenging the Trump administration or fulfilling his role as Chair of the Government Oversight Committee." But when Chaffetz stepped down from Congress, it set off a quandary in Utah because the state has no specific law for how to implement a Special Election. Both the Federal and state statutes give authority to the governor to call a Special Election, but there is no specified methodology on how to do this. We asked Kathie to introduce herself to DWT readers by bringing us up to date on the state of her race in Utah.

UT-03 stretches from the suburbs east on Salt Lake City, like Holladay and Cottonwood Heights, almost to Park City and then down through Heber City, Provo, Spanish Fork and way down through Moab and Blanding to the 4 corners where Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado all meet. Although there are 7 counties in the district, most of the votes-- by far-- are in Utah County and Salt Lake County. Bernie beat Hillary in every county and took more voters overall that Trump did in the caucuses. In Utah County Bernie beat Hillary 85.3% to 14.2%. He got 6,071 votes to Trump's 3,713 votes. In Salt Lake County, Bernie beat Hillary 78.8% to 20.9% and his 35,610 votes far outstripped Trump's 6,542 on the same day. (Cruz won the county in the GOP caucus-- with 31,164 votes-- and Bernie beat him too. And it wasn't that different in the sparsely populated rural counties. Take Grand-- Bernie beat Hillary 79.6% to 20.2% but he beat Trump 636 votes to 127 votes. Now, keep in mind, Utah's third district has a PVI of R+28. McCain beat Obama 67-29% and 4 years later Romney eviscerated the president 79-20%, one of Obama's weakest performances anywhere. But Trump isn't well-regarded in Utah and UT-03 only gave him 47.2% of the vote (to Hillary's 23.3%). Still, every one of Chaffetz's reelection bids has been won with over 70%. This is going to be a tough race.

Kathie has an extensive issues page on her official website and if you like what she stands for and what she has to say below, you can contribute to her campaign here.

On The Idiosyncrasies Of Utah Politics In The Special Election To Replace Jason Chaffetz
-by Dr. Kathie Allen

Governor Herbert took the quandary about a special election to mean that the authority was completely in his hands. He chose not to call a special session of our state Legislature. His rationale was that several State Legislators had their hats in the ring, and he felt that giving the Legislature a voice in the process would open the possibility that they would manipulate it to their own ends, enhancing the possibility that a Republican State Legislator would be named the Republican nominee. This set off a backlash and a meeting of both Democratic and Republican caucuses of the Legislature who considered suing the Governor for having bypassed their authority. They will no doubt address this fuzziness in the election law when they convene in 2018.

However, Governor Herbert prevailed, and he determined that the Democratic nominee could be chosen at the Democratic State Convention by the 3rd Congressional District delegates. Since we had not yet had our Convention, this was easy to implement and we had enough advance warning to make the caucus of the 3rd District an integral part of the State Convention.

The Republican party, however had already had its State Convention. They had to call a separate caucus session of their 3rd CD delegates, and they had no money to do so. Their mini-convention was financed by donations from delegates and Jason Chaffetz donating his left-over campaign funds to them.

The Republican Party in Utah is broke. They are over $300,000 in debt. This is largely because they chose to fight a Ballot Initiative called “Count My Vote” that the citizens of Utah were able to pass and enact into law. The Republican party wanted to preserve the caucus system intact, in which neighborhood meetings are the means of electing party delegates. These party delegates are then empowered with choosing the party’s official nominees for the local and national election slate. The problem with this approach is that it draws zealots to the small neighborhood meetings. Everyone else would rather stay inside with family, watch a sports game on TV, or pursue another activity. As the years have gone by since the emergence of the Tea Party, more and more of the Republican delegates have become Tea Party adherents or have embraced other extreme positions of the Right. More moderate Republicans and others wanted to challenge this caucus system by providing a second means of putting names on the ballot. The successful enactment of “Count My Vote” allows a signature-gathering process where signatures representing approximately 1% of the population of a district provide a pathway for a candidate to go directly on the ballot, bypassing the caucus system.

There are 3 contenders for the Republican nomination to replace Jason Chaffetz. The official designee to come out of the traditional caucus system is, as expected, a right-wing candidate by the name of Chris Herrod. He is a former State legislator with views bordering on racist. He is anti-immigration for certain, a view that does not sit well even with many of the otherwise conservative Mormons in the district who have been actively helping refugees. The two other candidates went the signature gathering route. One is the more moderate mayor of Provo, Utah, John Curtis. He actually was once a Democrat, but has been a Republican for many years now. The third candidate is Tanner Ainge, who would not have been able to collect the required signatures without the backing of his famous father, Danny Ainge, former NBA basketball star and currently top management in the Boston Celtics organization. His chances of being elected possibly dipped a little when the Boston Celtics wooed away one of Utah’s best players, Gordon Hayward, in free agency this summer.

As for me, my two opponents tried and failed to gather the necessary signatures to primary me. I was able to secure the Democratic nomination with 77% of the caucus vote. I am a progressive candidate running in a very conservative district. Some variables that will help me are if Curtis fails to advance and I face the extremist Herrod; if Donald Trump continues to undermine our democracy with no response from our all-GOP Congressional delegation (as has so far been the case), and if my message of “health care for all” resonates. My district has had one of the highest enrollments in the ACA, and many are threatened with loss of coverage. Our internal polling indicated that healthcare is the #1 issue on the minds of our constituents. The poll showed us a route to victory in identifying who our likely supporters are and what the best messaging might be. For instance, people responded to “Dr. Allen is a family doctor who will tell you the truth, even if it is hard to hear.”

This Special Election is the final chance to send a Democrat to Congress in 2017. While admittedly an uphill climb, it is a winnable race. A victory for our side would send shock waves to the White House and to Trump supporters. Symbolically, replacing Jason Chaffetz with a progressive female family doc would be a coup. I hope that you will support my race!

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At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saying it is "winnable" does not make it so. Beet red is an understatement.

It's the whitest state in the union and quite racist and misogynist (dare I say it... MORMON!) also, though not so much as TX or OK or ...

UT voters recoil viscerally to most everything progressive. The LDS brainwashing is strong with these voters.

And if, by some arcangel-fomented miracle, you can win, then how will you feel being suppressed by the democrap power structure such that all things progressive will be spiked without even seeing the floor of your chamber?

At 4:44 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Good luck Kathie! You are courageous to give this a try. We should never give up!

Perhaps more of the American people will have woken up by the tine of the election to the horrors of the entire Republican party.. They continue to support the worst President in history by far - conspiracy, money laundering and a complete lack of ethics and morality notwithstanding. They have blatantly shown themselves to be enemies of democracy. They do not care one bit about the populace in their respective districts, the environment or America's standing in the world.

Knock 'em dead, Kathie!


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