Peter Van Alstyne, director of the Utah State Division of Corporations, is the new Salt Lake County Republican Party Chairman.
Van Alstyne won the post in a four-man race in Saturday's county GOP convention. He finished about 80 votes ahead of local attorney Donald J. Purser. Acting county vice chairman Chap Riese and businessman Kurt Rosenham finished well out of the contest.Only about one-fourth of the 2,000 delegates eligible to vote attended the off-year convention held in the Taylorsville High School auditorium.
Delegates also picked Caree McDonald as vice chairman, W. Devon Olson as secretary and David M. Muir as treasurer.
The new officers will serve two years and will oversee the 1990 congressional, legislative and county races.
A number of delegates were dismayed to hear that the county party, under the leadership of Richard Snelgrove and Frances Hatch Merrill, spent $25,000 more than was collected. (Snelgrove stepped down in February 1988 to run for U.S. Congress and was replaced by Merrill.)
In his financial report to the convention, Muir, acting treasurer, said the county party raised $87,000 but spent $112,000. The county party started the election cycle with $30,000 in the bank and has only $5,000 left.
Merrill, in her farewell address to the convention, said the party has been in conflict, referring a difficult governor's race last year and to "former Republican legislators who are turncoats and now work to elect Democratic candidates." She was also critical of the media, saying the press is questionable at best and it is the job of Republican leaders to demand accuracy.
The county party has seen difficult times besides its financial problems. Over the past four years, Democrats have taken away 10 Utah House seats from Republicans in the county. And, according to Van Alstyne, there has been rancor in the leadership.
In his convention speech, Van Alstyne said, "It is time for a change. We need a new era of party leadership and fellowship. We must heal the old wounds and replace rancor with friendship."