Signature-gathering candidates dominated their convention-only opponents

Want proof that Utah’s signature path to the primary ballot works? In eight Legislative primary elections where a signature-gathering candidate faced a convention-only opponent, the signature candidate prevailed in seven of those contests.

The only race that saw a signature path candidate lose to a convention nominated candidate was HD7, where Republican Kyle Anderson defeated Lisa Roskelley. In every other primary where the dual-path came into play, signature gathering candidates won.

  • HD4 – Republican Dan Johnson defeated Greg Merrill
  • HD19 – Republican incumbent Ray Ward defeated Phill Wright
  • HD20 – GOP signature candidate Melissa Ballard defeated Glen Jenkins, who also gathered signatures, and Matt Jensen, who qualified via the convention route.
  • HD27 – Republican Brady Brammer beat Jared Carman
  • HD57 – Republican John Hawkins gathered signatures and won the nomination over Alexander Carter, who took the convention route
  • HD71 – GOP incumbent Brad Last gathered signatures and defeated Mark Borowiak, who qualified via convention.
  • SD17 – Republican Scott Sandall gathered 2000 signatures to qualify for the primary where he ousted Clark Davis.

The signature route saved Republican Melissa Ballard, who lost at the Davis County GOP convention. She was able to advance to the general election despite that convention defeat.

Additionally, Mitt Romney and Rep. John Curtis were able to win their U.S. Senate and U.S. House primary elections over convention-only candidates. Both used the signature route to the ballot.

All four legislative incumbents who faced primary challenges defeated their intra-party challengers.  Sen. Brian Zehnder, R-Cottonwood Heights, Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, Rep. Christine Watkins, R-Price and Rep. Brad Last, R-Hurricane, all prevailed. However, only Ward and Last gathered signatures to get on the ballot.

The “Count My Vote” ballot initiative to solidify the signature-gathering path in state law with lower signature requirements narrowly failed to make the November ballot. Organizers have appealed to the Utah Supreme Court in a bid to let voters decide during the general election.