Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How Funny Would It Be If The Utah Republicans Inadvertently Bared Their Own Candidates From The Ballot?


Kathie Allen

No, that's not a scenario from The Onion; but from the Salt Lake Tribune. "Imagine," wrote Lee Davidson, "this year’s ballot with no Utah candidates listed as Republicans. Or, alternatively, the ballot listing only those Republicans who gathered signatures, while others who went through the GOP convention are shut out." Sounds good to me. And deserved.
Republicans say those scenarios are a growing possibility now that the Legislature failed to pass a bill designed to fix problems caused by a recent bylaw change adopted by the Republican State Central Committee.

The fix-it bill, HB485, passed the House. It was on the Senate calendar awaiting action Thursday night when the Legislature adjourned as required at midnight-- so it died.

Now, “I think there’s certainly a cloud over this election,” Rep. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, sponsor of the bill, said Friday.

The questions swirling in the wake of HB485’s demise include which, if any, Republicans eventually may appear on the ballot, whether the party may be listed at all-- or whether GOP hopefuls might be forced to run as unaffiliated candidates.

The turmoil stems from a recent party rule change forced through by hard-liners on the GOP State Central Committee that would kick out of the party candidates who gather signatures to qualify for the ballot in some races. Signature gathering, they argue, decreases the power of state delegates and infringes on the right of the party to choose its own nominees.

The problem is that the GOP last November filed to operate this election cycle as a “qualified political party,” which under state law means it would have to allow candidates to gather signatures, use the caucus-convention system, or both.

“It’s clear they [Central Committee members] made an effort to break the law with their bylaw change,” McKell said, which could lead to lawsuits to revoke the GOP’s qualified political party status. That, in turn, could decertify the party, or lead it to be declared a “registered political party,” which under law allows only those candidates who gather signatures to appear on the ballot.

McKell’s bill sought to solve problems by making clear that once a party files as a qualified political party, the party has no power to change midstream in an election cycle.

Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, Senate sponsor of the fix-it bill, said many of his colleagues lost interest in it after its narrow passage in the House, 40-31. Had it achieved 50 votes, it could have become effective immediately-- instead of in May.

Bramble said immediate implementation was important to provide clarity as people begin filing their candidate declarations.

Candidates must decide whether they go though the caucus-convention system, gather signatures or both. And without HB471, Bramble said, it remains murky whether the party actually has power to kick out those who gather signatures.

If the party tries to enforce its new rule by ousting signature-gathering candidates, McKell said, it could trigger punishment by the state.

...[Lt. Gov. Spencer] Cox (R) warned that the new party bylaw “puts every Republican candidate at risk, as a judge could revoke the party’s qualified political party status.”

Alex Cragun, executive director of the Utah Democratic Party, said Friday that Cox “cannot pick and choose which laws he can enforce,” and should now move to strip the GOP of its qualified political party status. “They can choose whether to violate the law, but they have to face the consequences.”

Cragun said Democrats are finding it easier to recruit candidates this year with “the Republicans ready to shoot themselves in the foot,” and he and other party officials tell potential candidates “you might not have an opponent in November.”
Goal ThermometerBlue America endorsed a candidate for Utah state Senate, Kathie Allen, who already looks like a winner in her race for this special election in Senate District 8, entirely within Salt Lake County, a relatively blue area. Kathie told us that the GOP brought this on themselves. "This is what happens," she told us this morning, "when you ignore the will of the people to have more than a small coterie of hyper-partisans determine  our candidates." Tight now the Utah state Senate has 29 members and only 5 are Democrats. This would be a good year to start getting that number up-- whether there are Republicans on the ballot or not. Please consider helping Kathie Allen win this race by clicking on the Blue America thermometer for state legislative seats on the right... and contributing what you can.

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At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Signature gathering, they argue, decreases the power of state delegates and infringes on the right of the party to choose its own nominees."

Yes, let's not have We the People make our own voices heard as to who should run for office. It's interesting that the Republicans are so open about their opposition to mere mortals making such choices when the Democrats have been less-than-overt by rigging elections.

"This is what happens...when you ignore the will of the people to have more than a small coterie of hyper-partisans determine our candidates."
-Kathie Allen, Blue America-endorsed candidate for Utah Senate District 8

What??? Salt Lake City has no Gil Cisneros to steal the seat with lotto winnings?

At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if they BARED their candidates it would be porn. It might be funny.. but most likely just pathetic.

If they BARRED their own candidates, it would just mean some other republican would have to run.


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