OREM Just a day after threatening to sue the Utah County Republican Party, former Utah State House candidate Linda Houskeeper says that she spoke with Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert and that he is interested in mediating the situation.
Herbert and Houskeeper have been acquaintances for years, she said.
"(Herbert) said he read the newspapers and he has asked me to hold off filing a lawsuit, and that he will personally help work on the problem," Houskeeper said.
She fell one vote short of forcing a primary with incumbent Rep. Brad Daw during last month's county convention. She has made several claims about the county party's leadership that included her main complaint that at least two vacated delegate seats in District 60 were left unfilled because officials said it was within two weeks of the convention, and thereby too late to reassign delegates.
But GOP county chairwoman Marian Monnahan and party secretary Susan Bramble say that Houskeeper's claim is without merit. They say that the bylaws don't allow any changes to delgates within two weeks of the convention, and delegates are only replaced when there are circumstances like a death, medical emergency or military service. They also say that the two delegates that Houskeeper is referring to were unable to attend the convention, but did not want to resign from their positions.
They also say that they have been consistent in keeping these bylaws.
"In the last six years, we have stuck to the rules. The only time (delegates) have been replaced has been for extenuating circumstances," Bramble said. "And we have always had a deadline for when that could be done."
They say that the two-week deadline is important because they must have a paper trail of that change and notify people including candidates within an appropriate time. They also say that when delegates attend their caucuses, they are reminded that they need to attend the convention on the assigned date if they are chosen to be a delegate.
Herbert was unavailable for comment Tuesday, but his chief of staff, Joseph Demma, confirmed that the lieutenant governor did speak with Houskeeper but said they were still in the process of gathering information.
"The lieutenant governor has committed to learning more about the situation and then doing all he can to help her," Demma said. "We just don't know what that means up until this point."
Houskeeper claims that her arguments have more to do with the state of the Republican Party than with the fact that she was not made the nominee. She insists that she is not a sore loser and feels that the leaders within the county party are not acting with the utmost integrity."My goal is to remove the power from the 'party-pack' and give some of the power back to the principled people," said Houskeeper, "so that whatever candidates run in the future are not discriminated by the party leaders, and that the people make the decisions not the party."