LINDON Linda Houskeeper's attempt to challenge the election results in her district at last month's Utah County Republican Convention hit a large speed bump Monday in the form of the county Republican Credentials Committee.
And now she is considering filing a lawsuit against the county party.
Before hearing Houskeeper's list of complaints, the committee informed her that, under state law, it had no jurisdiction to change the results of the convention and that it should have been done in district court no later than 10 days after the convention. This information was news to Houskeeper, who had made the complaint four days after the convention and was waiting for the credentials committee to set up a time to hear her argument.
Houskeeper said that she was given the impression that her complaints would be heard in the meeting and that action could be taken if the information was found relevant.
"For them to wait two weeks to have the hearing and then say that three days ago I should have filed a complaint with the court is terrible," Houskeeper said. "Had they given a hearing before now I would have still had time to file with the courts. It is just another one of their shenanigans."
Houskeeper said she feels that the meeting was intentionally postponed in order to make the process longer and make it impossible for her to challenge the results. But Russell Skousen, the spokesman for the committee, says that claim is unfounded.
"It is absolutely false," Skousen said. "It is her responsibility to find out what her rights are. If it were the responsibility of the party to inform every person as to what their rights might be if they are unhappy, that would be unduly burdensome for us. The fact is that it is state law that is in the elections code."
Skousen said there are a number of ways Houskeeper could have found out the pertinent information, and the party had sought legal counsel, as well, as part of preparation for the meeting.
"No one was trying to trick her into losing her right to contest the nomination that occurred," Skousen said. "The person making the complaint has some duty to inquire as to where it should be made."
The committee met with Houskeeper and several witnesses she invited to attend during the meeting that was closed to the public. Houskeeper had a few delegates and precinct chairpeople with her to help argue her main complaint that at least two vacated delegate seats in District 60 were left unfilled because the party said it was too close to the convention to replace the assigned delegates, even though they would be unable to attend.
Houskeeper also challenged that two ballots were replaced by current members of the party steering committee without proper authorization.
Utah County Republican Party Chairwoman Marian Monnahan said the group wanted to meet with Houskeeper in order to improve things in the future. She admitted that she and other people who volunteer for these positions are not perfect but felt that the convention was straightforward and that there was no attempt to hurt Houskeeper's campaign.
Houskeeper offered several suggestions for what could be done differently in the time given to her, but she was extremely upset knowing that her arguments had no chance of changing anything that happened at the convention.She now says that she plans to file a civil lawsuit against the Utah County Republican Party.