newsletter subscribe

Image: ShutterstockA move by a small group of Republican Party hardliners to kick out candidates who use the signature gathering route is roiling the Utah GOP.

The so-called "Gang of 51" took advantage of party rules to ram through the change that revokes the party membership of candidates in the 1st and 2nd CD who use the SB54-created signature path. No other races are targeted this year. Republicans in the Legislature, as well as Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, the state's top elections officer, said the move violates state law and is likely unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause.

Our "Political Insiders" and readers do not agree with the bylaw change at all.

Across the board, around eight-in-ten who responded to our survey said the Utah GOP should not remove party members who take the signature path.

  • 81% of the Republicans on our panel disagree with the bylaw change.

  • 80% of the Democrats who responded say candidates should not be ejected from the party for gathering signatures.

  • 76% of our readers disagree with the actions of the Utah GOP Central Committee.

The Utah Legislature is considering HB485, which attempts to nullify the SCC's action. However, they admit the bill, if it passes, will likely be challenged in court.

Selected anonymous comments:

I am gathering signatures. I hope I don't get kicked out.

This is an attempt by a group of spoiled brats that will only play the game if you use their ball, on their turf, play by their rules, and they keep score. If you don't play by their rules, they'll take their ball and go home.

Completely out of touch party insiders making decisions to the detriment of the people they supposedly represent! This is exactly why we need the signature gathering route. I’m sick and tired of the whiny Republicans attempting to hijack the Party. Time to start a campaign to remove them ALL from the central committee!

The loonies on the Utah GOP SCC that keep charging down this road with no awareness of how it affects their candidates and party are the best Count My Vote commercial ever.

This is the dumbest idea in a long time. WTF? Seriously, WTF? The funny thing is you have a bunch of SCC members voting for this idiotic idea who have never won a political campaign of any significance.

I am a long-time delegate and a precinct officer. I support the caucus/convention system, but these nuts on the Central Committee are an embarrassment to the rest of us. I did not vote for any of them!

Can someone explain what it means to "kick someone out of the party"? We used to talk about being a "card-carrying member of the Communist Party." I always thought the Commies were smart enough not to issue membership cards, but I know the Utah Republican Party doesn't do so. Are they going to sue to have registrations changed? Seems unlikely? Sue to keep that R from appearing on the ballot? Not going to happen. Withhold the party's caucus/convention endorsement? That's sort of the point of going the alternate route, isn't it? When Trump got the nomination, I left the party (which one CAN do, by changing one's registration. I'm not seeing anything now that makes it likely I will re-join when The Donald passes from the scene. And for what it's worth, I am a strong supporter of the caucus/convention system.

We need the silent majority within the GOP to rise up and kick these far far right members out of our party. They are so far right they are holding hands with the far left.

Bunch of idiots.

The SCC should be decertified, the party should disband as currently constituted, and they should just start over.

Either you have a party, or you have a brand name to sell to the highest bidder. If anyone can spend 5K dollars to collect signatures and get on the ballot, you no longer have a party. The GOP is a private party and free to pick their own rules.

The vocal minority have driven the Republican "Party" into the ground in Utah.

I don’t think this policy is sustainable but being a moderate Utah Democrat, I hope it stays because it will benefit Democrats and Independents.

The party appears to be imploding.

Squabbling over being the kingmaker is so trivial that one should grasp with dying breath to such self-important power.

Death to the caucus system and those who cling to power at the expense of the voters.

Why should a limited number of state delegates decide over 10X as many registered Republican voters especially if there is a primary election where only registered Republicans can vote. Who really represents the Republican Party?

One of the kookiest ideas ever. The "Republicans" pushing this aren't really Republicans, and they are the ones we should kick out of the party.

If you don't want to follow the party rules why run for the party nomination?

Justice Scalia observed that the right of a party to select its standard bearer is of utmost importance. Right of association is critical, not only to political parties but to every private organization. Rules are clear. People can choose to follow them, in order to be candidates for the organization, or not.

Are we really discussing this topic? The State Central Committee is a bunch of idiots. My mother, who told me not to say such things about people, would have agreed wholeheartedly. They are out of their minds.

The dinosaurs of the Republican Party must accept that times have changed and that most Republicans want a more direct voice in selecting their candidates for office.

This "vocal minority" should split off and start their own party. They obviously don't represent the typical Republican in Utah. One need only look at recent elections to the 180 degree flip in voters in the primary vs. state convention voting.

Heck (Can I say "heck" in this publication?) no! I am incensed by the lack of respect (contempt, disdain) the ultra-conservative members of the Utah-GOP Central Committee have for the electorate as well as their fellow Republicans in our state. SB54 is law. They need to stop this mad, punch-drunk swinging at this issue. They are acting like spoiled 7th Grade girls that are trying to un-invite the nice girl that their mothers are making them invite to the slumber party. An answer to Mr. Don Guymon's attempt at intellectual purity on this issue (from his email sent out to delegates): Intellectual purity does not stand for much when you are morally wrong!

I suppose they have the right to do that, but they do need to realize that such a move will probably remove the Republican Party from ballots. On the other hand, wouldn't that be an interesting way to stir things up in this state?

It is axiomatic that an organization should determine who represents it. Does the hoi polloi membership of Costco determine its Media Spokesperson? Or is that a decision best handled by those who manage Costco?

Do rules mean anything in this state? Do people think that it is honest to say they support the caucus/convention system and then when it comes to supporting they caucus/system they back down? Utah really has an honesty problem.

Purity tests and removing party members for taking a particular electoral route is a tactic a European political party would do. I don't think those kinds of rules are helpful for an American political party.

This is a horrible idea. This is the worst idea since they tried to land the Hindenburg in a thunderstorm.

50 people shouldn't make decisions for 75% of Utah voters. This is precisely the reason why most Utahns don't want a caucus. It leaves the power in the hands of far too few, and discounts the wants of party members.

Beside the point of legality and constitutionality, this idea is totally contrary to the basic principles of integrity, inclusion, and is simply un-American. 

I think private political organizations need to be able to choose how people get to claim the title of Republican nominee. Especially in a state where the nomination so clearly impacts who wins the general election.

I really believe that political parties should get to set their own rules, and not a REPUBLICAN DOMINATED LEGISLATURE, setting the state law to maintain the incumbents. The current process protects the Republican base in Utah and obliterates the democratic and other political parties.

The SCC needs to grow up!

Is anybody else getting really tired of the nut-wing of the party?

This decision may mean an opening for a more moderate and sensible third party to emerge in Utah. The Republican Party has for too long been governed by those on the radical right; these individuals need to understand they are the minority voice and are not representing the majority of moderate conservatives.

I'm sympathetic to parties being able to control who their members are in extreme circumstances. Trump, for instance, isn't really a Republican (even still) and it amazed me that the party was helpless to keep him out. Throwing members out of the party because they take make use of a legal method of getting on the primary ballot is insane, though.

It is past time to totally do away with the ridiculous caucus system.

Common sense dictates that mainstream members of the GOP should throw the bums out who created discord, and cost the State GOP a small fortune to defend their distorted view of republican purity.

They are a private party, who in the hell thinks it is okay to tell the Republican party who they can or cannot have represent them.

Let the people pick who is on the ballot, not crazy fundamentalists.

50 people deciding what's best for the other 700,000 registered Republicans without even consulting with any of those they represent beforehand? Absolutely not okay.

It is literally against the law. If it weren't, I would have no problem with it. But the law and order party should follow the law that their legislature wrote and approved. Conversely, I approve of them doing this if I trusted that the Lt. Gov's office would kick them off the ballot like the law states. Which I don't. Nobody will hold them accountable, and that's a damn shame.

The Utah GOP needs to just get on with it and burn itself to the ground so we all can all move on.

I am going to collect signatures to force UtahPolicy.com to allow me to write for them. That seems crazy, right? 

Bottom line, it's their business. It's a private organization. However, they will pay for their choices. And they are emotional, not rational. They are so committed to being right that they can't see what it right. Still a highly dysfunctional family.