Republican Senate candidate Hartley Anderson claims Washington County party officials used city police "to enforce dirty politics."
Anderson is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Bob Bennett.Police Chief Bob Flowers, who also is sergeant at arms for the Washington County Republican Party, said he only was enforcing the convention's rules of order and had spoken to Anderson and another candidate at the request of a GOP party officer.
"All I did was call it to their attention that they were breaking convention rules," Flowers said.
In a press release and at a press conference before the Iron County Republican convention in Cedar City on Tuesday, Anderson claimed he was not allowed to speak at the Washington County convention for the same amount of time as his opponent and said delegates began voting Saturday while he was trying to speak.
Anderson said county GOP Chairman George Spencer and the Vice Chairman Jeannine Holt, threatened, "If you speak longer than six minutes I will have you arrested."
Anderson is calling for an apology from the state party and to have Spencer and Holt resign.
Spencer chuckled about Anderson's demand for his resignation.
"I've put in hundreds of volunteer hours for the Republicans," Spencer said. "It's tempting."
Spencer said there was some confusion with Anderson and Gerard Arthus, who is opposing Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah.
State party regulations don't allow fusion candidates to speak at county conventions, Spencer said. A fusion candidate is one who is registered with more than one party; Arthus filed to run as a Republican and a Libertarian.
Spencer said he was explaining this to Arthus as Anderson was sitting on the other side of Arthus.
In spite of Spencer's attempts to calm Arthus, the party's parliamentarian, Russell Gallian, called the sergeant at arms to talk with him. "I didn't threaten to arrest him," Spencer said. "I don't have that authority, and I certainly don't tell the chief of police what to do."
He said Anderson is correct about not being allowed to speak the same length of time as Bennett or at the same time on the pro-gram.
Party regulation allows congressional incumbents to speak longer and to speak at a different time than other candidates, he said.
"The idea is that they are to be given an opportunity to give a report on what's going on with the Republican Party," Spencer said. "That's exactly what Bennett and Hansen did."