Some Utah Democrats are so disgruntled with the field for party chair they're exploring the option of nominating someone else from the floor of Saturday's convention.
UtahPolicy.com has learned that a group of centrist Democrats has become disillusioned with the tone of the campaign, which has been marred by dirty tricks and negative attacks on candidates. In response, they're reaching out to some prominent Democrats to see if they would be interested in leading the party.
The effort to recruit a new party chair candidate began in earnest following the release of a letter alleging sexual misconduct on the part of Rob Miller. Shortly following the media firestorm ignited by the allegations, Miller dropped out of the race.
Over the weekend an anonymous email made some unsubstantiated claims against another leading candidate, Daisy Thomas.
Some of the names that have been floated as possible nominees include former Utah State Senators Ed Allen and Scott Howell along with Katherine Kanter.
While any attempt to pick another candidate is a long shot at best, it does highlight a deep discontent among Democratic candidates with the candidates and the campaign.
One prominent Democrat who asked to remain anonymous told UtahPolicy.com that many delegates were starting to shift their support toward Thomas until the allegations of marijuana use surfaced over the weekend.
"Now, they'll probably just stay home they're so disgusted with the whole thing," they said.
Another delegate told UtahPolicy.com the whole race has become "disgraceful."
"This campaign is just so nasty. I'm ashamed of us as a party."
The fear that Democratic delegates will stay home is a real one. On Wednesday, a coalition of Democrats released an open letter to delegates, urging them to show up on Saturday.
"It is a hard time to be a Utah Democrat," the letter reads. "The Convention is days away and the race for chair has become contentious, Allegations multiply, blame spreads like a virus, and suddenly personal details and smear campaigns is all anyone can talk about. The extraordinary opportunity laid out before us is being lost in the noise."
The letter continues, "Sorting through petty and personal attacks is exhausting...your duty at this crucial moment is to assemble, deliberate, and select a Chair who will be a champion for all Utahns."
Democrats meet at Weber State University on Saturday to elect a new chair.