What happened in the Salt Lake County GOP over the weekend??

 What happened in the Salt Lake County GOP this weekend?? Here’s a brief timeline:


Friday afternoon – The (now former) Salt Lake County GOP chair Scott Miller sent out a scathing email to “Salt Lake County and Utah Republicans” in an apparent attempt to pre-empt a Salt Lake Tribune story. It begins: “Now, months after a tremendously successful election cycle, including delivering to the residents of Salt Lake County a Republican supermajority on the County Council, certain volunteers and I are being accused of foul actions.  The accusers are members of our own party.  Instead of bringing their allegations directly to me and to the Salt Lake County GOP Executive Committee, calling for an independent investigation of their allegations, they take their salacious allegations to the “Democrat’s political high court”: the Salt Lake Tribune.” In the email, Miller names seven women, accuses them of being sore losers (among other things) and says “I will not be CANCELLED.” (Editor’s note: the “accusers” did in fact take their substantiated allegations to the chair and the executive committee. Nothing happened.)

Saturday  – A joint statement from Gov. Cox and LG Henderson responds to Miller’s email: “We are deeply offended by the recent reprehensible communications to Salt Lake County delegates. Let us be clear: This type of behavior should never happen and when it does, we will not tolerate it, ignore it or explain it away…”


A toxic environment – The Salt Lake Tribune publishes the article Miller alluded to in his fiery email, detailing months of harassment and bullying coming from the SLCo GOP’s communications director, Dave Robinson. “‘I will make sure you never get elected! I will ruin you! And I will make sure the party never works with you! Get your sh– together!’” [County Councilwoman Laurie] Stringham recounted Robinson saying. “Then he hung up on me. The call lasted just over two minutes, but scared the hell out of me.” The article detailed a number of occasions where Robinson made sexually inappropriate comments and said he could talk about women’s bodies because he grew up on a farm and had “a keen eye for livestock.” 


Lt. Governor Henderson says she is heartbroken to learn of the treatment female candidates and staff experienced.


Calls for resignation – Most of the Salt Lake County legislators issue a statement calling for Miller’s resignation. Derek Brown, state GOP chair, issues a news release calling the allegations appalling and called on the county party’s executive committee to meet immediately “and address these allegations in a way that ensures this never happens again.” 

Another email – Miller sends out another email, this one with a very different tone: “I applaud these women for coming forward and I have encouraged any accusers to come forward. I take these allegations seriously. I want to be very clear, I do not and will not tolerate sexual harassment, sexual assault, etc.” He says he is immediately proposing a new anti-harassment policy and has released all volunteers from their positions with the party.

More leaders weigh in – Senate President Stuart Adams condemns the “degrading behavior” and agrees with calls for the county executive committee to act immediately. All eight House Republican women condemn the “bullying, harassment and sexism” in a joint statement. 

Sunday morning – Scott Miller resigned as Salt Lake County GOP chair. County Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton, one of the survivors, noted simply: “Scott Miller wasn’t cancelled. He was held accountable.” GOP chair Derek Brown responded:

“This morning I received an email from Scott Miller voluntarily resigning his position as Chairman of the Salt Lake County Republican Party.  I support his resignation and will work closely with the county party to ensure that the upcoming convention is successful.

Yesterday’s public revelation of David Robinson’s abhorrent behavior towards some of the most respected women in our party, and Miller’s own role in that behavior, show me we have work to do. Before ever speaking with the press, these women bravely raised their concerns with county party leadership, and nothing was done. That is unacceptable.

During my chairmanship, I have spent countless hours working side by side with brilliant and dedicated Republican women, including every woman who was quoted in the Tribune article. I am personally grateful for their contribution to our party and their courage. 

I have seen, firsthand, how many women face an uphill battle in the political arena, including within my own party. We have more work to do, and I am committed to doing it.

On May 1st, the Utah Republican Party will elect a new Chair. I am confident our delegates will elect a Chair committed to continuing this work, and ensuring that no woman ever has a similar experience again. I also commit, after my Chairmanship has concluded, that my volunteer efforts with the Republican Party will focus on continuing to recruit, support, and help elect amazing female candidates.”