GOP U.S. Senate candidate blames a ‘glitch’ for not being registered as a Republican when he filed for office; Elections officials say that’s unlikely

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Parker was not registered as a member of the Utah Republican Party until 8 days after he filed to run for the GOP nomination. 

According to voter registration records, Parker was unaffiliated until he registered as a Republican at his GOP caucus meeting on March 20. He filed to run for the U.S. Senate nomination on March 12.

Parker’s status was likely not an oversight as he previously registered as a Republican for a few months in 2016. The Utah Elections office says Parker was unaffiliated until he registered as a Republican in the spring of 2016. He then switched back to unaffiliated in October of that year.

When reached for comment, Parker blamed a “glitch” for his shifting political status.

“I have no idea how the unaffiliated thing happened,” he said during a phone conversation on Monday. “I went to the caucus meeting and was rejected when I went to sign in, so I had to re-register as a Republican.”

That explanation doesn’t hold water according to Utah Director of Elections Justin Lee.

“It’s extraordinarily unlikely considering we have voter registration forms on file for each of his party changes,” Lee tells Lee said Parker signed each of the forms changing from unaffiliated to Republican then back to unaffiliated and again to a Republican.

Parker refused to answer several follow-up questions about his claim that the state’s voter records were erroneous once he was presented with the information from the Utah Elections Office.

Previously Parker told he “espouses traditional Republican values,” and called the issue of whether he was actually a member of the party whose nomination he is seeking a “nothingburger.”

Parker can’t be disqualified from running as a Republican because the window for filing an objection has passed. State law says an objection must be filed within 5 days of his filing for office. Since there was no objection, his candidacy is valid. 

The same issue popped up in last year’s special election in the 3rd Congressional District. Republican Tanner Ainge was not registered as a Republican when he filed to run for the GOP nomination in that race.