New Salt Lake County GOP chairman questions changes to caucus system

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  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    April 24, 2013 12:27 p.m.

    Governor Leavitt, LaVar Webb, Thomas Wright and others want to have a good process for choosing the candidate but I am not sure that 70% is the answer to that situation. Caucuses are good and the convention can be good. The caucus is in April and the primary in June does not give the non-incumbent very much time to implement the campaign. Senator Bennett was at the primary convention pushing his campaign and should have been able to influence the caucus system but the sub-party group wanted a change. In 18 years, Senator Bennett wasn't very responsive to letters of concern enough to send back very many responses to say thanks for sending in a letter of concern. He had name recognition but didn't get those people in the convention.

    He is tall and those pushing for a higher limit don't have any scientific data to show that it is for a better process. The large number of Republican candidates in the last Presidential campaign and all the horrendous debates didn't make it a very good situation for the Republican candidate or party. It made a wider and larger target for the Democrats to throw darts.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2013 12:43 a.m.

    One of the principles of those wanting to gut the neighborhood election caucus meeting and convention system we have in Utah, was this: " A system that provides inherent advantages to those who are incumbent, wealthy or famous is not acceptable."

    The problem is their proposals would do exactly that.

    The Caucus System in Utah is the best way to make sure grass roots movements can work over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2,000,000 in election funds.

    There were about 120,000 republicans in Utah that went to the neighborhood caucus elections in 2012 to elect the 4000 State Delegates. Add to those numbers the democrats and the primary elections. Certainly the municipal elections didn't do any better in voter representation.

    Bypassing the Caucus / Convention System will NOT create more participation. There are 4000 state delegates that spend countless hours vetting candidates to be on the ballot. They are selected by those that attend the neighborhood election caucus meeting. You just have to attend.

    The current system does not protect the incumbent, wealthy or famous. I think that is a good thing.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 24, 2013 12:41 a.m.

    The 60% threshold to avoid a primary works, allowing a shot of a challenger to eliminate an incumbent and yet requires a challenger to be a strong candidate.

    Based on the state gop released stats since 2000 for state wide or congressional races, at 60%, threshold to avoid a primary, 47% of contested races went to primary. If at 2/3, 67% of contested races go to a primary and at 70%, 70% of the races go to primary.

    70% would not have helped Sen. Bennett in 2010. He was not in the top 2 coming out of convention. In fact the more moderate Tim Bridgewater was selected by 57% of the delegates in the last round. Mike Lee managed to get 43% and make it to a primary. Sen. Bennett endorsed Tim Bridgewater during the primary, but with voters ticked at TARP and ObamaCare, they went with Mike Lee.

    Sen. Hatch just barely missed eliminating Dan Liljenquist by hitting just under the 60%, and Jason Chaffetz just missed eliminating Chris Cannon by hitting just under 60%.

    The current system does not protect the incumbent, wealthy or famous. I think that is a good thing.

  • jryanbreit Orem, UT
    April 23, 2013 9:27 p.m.

    The changes being discussed at the state convention apply to only state and federal races. They do not apply to legislative races or any races decided at county conventions.