Utah GOP Chair James Evans is getting some criticism for his continuing battle against SB54, which is prompting some infighting within the Republican party. Our political insiders and readers feel Evans should and will get a challenger for his chairmanship at the August Republican convention.
Selected anonymous comments:
"I would give a comment, but in the future I may have to pass a purity test asking if I ever disagreed with the Party Chair."
"Why would we change things when they're going so well?" [straightens deck chairs]
"August may be too late to save the GOP from James Evans and his destructive death wish to ruin the party. In the name of saving the brand he is offending and excluding most of the voters in the state and the assumption is they are not informed or smart enough to make a decision on a candidate based on their campaign promises."
"Somebody will challenge, but nobody serious because Evans is unbeatable. He has done a phenomenal job of representing the views of the people who elected him. People who actually understand the caucus system have a deep appreciation for the opportunity to have their voice heard. While the people who oppose it, largely have been manipulated to believe it is something that it is not."
"James Evans seems to enjoy making an ass out of himself. He doesn't seem to care about anything but his perception of ideological purity. After the tribunals will he suggest that the impure be banned to outer darkness, or something worse?"
"Evans, as rhetorically radical as he is, is meek and mild compared to the majority of the Central Committee members. The only way a challenger would have a chance of defeating Evans would be to be even more radical and to the right than he is. It's the reason he can't even begin to address the realities of SB 54. The delegates won't let him. It's the same 'compromise is a sell-out of principle' mentality that has paralyzed Congress. It's why many of us feel the party no longer represents many of us who have been strong, active Republicans all of our lives."
"Mr. Evans' actions show that he and the GOP State Central Committee view more voter participation as a bad thing. Political science research has proven all his fears of needing to 'protect the brand' of the party are unfounded. Open up the process, let everyone who wants to participate in and let the best ideas win out."
"It's shocking to me that Governor Herbert or Senator Hatch or anyone of the elected Republican officials hasn't called for his resignation. Hopefully, they've had a very candid conversation with him."
"The party will be better served by someone less extreme."
"I believe no sitting GOP chair that has run for re-election has ever lost. Someone might run against James, but unlikely they can win."
"I am a state delegate. I had been attending county conventions for the last 20 years, or so, until last year, when I attended the state party convention. I thought Davis County conventions were a looney-bin…WOW! The last state convention was simply NUTS! My 20-year absence caused me to realize that the 'great unwashed' (the 'normal' Republicans) need to take somehow back the elephant from the ideologues that have hijacked this once great organization. James Evans needs to go as well as all of the ultra, ultra-conservatives who are trying to remake the GOP into a warped caricature of its former self."
"I am tired of the John Birch crowd controlling my party."
"I sure hope someone will run and beat him. Evans spent way too much money on wrong races and kept coming back to PAC's for more. Legislators are furious that he collects emails then they have to pay to get from the Party. They will ultimately push him out and recruit someone. Yes, there is a radical fringe that loves him, but they are on their way out, and sadly the party positions are the highest seats of power they will ever hope to hold."
"Someone will challenge Evans, and that someone will lose in a landslide."
"Assuming that there will be one or more challengers for the Utah GOP Chair, a new chair could be more conservative than Evans due to the nature of the delegates."
"I cannot get over what a PR nightmare he is. Every time James Evans goes on the radio, the Republican party that I love looks combative, petty and ignorant. I hope it's not too late to find someone to rescue the brand."
"God I hope so. Evans has been a complete disaster as party chairman. His inability to face reality and provide real leadership to the party has the potential of being devastating to Republican candidates in 2016. Democrats should be giddy with joy at the prospect of two more years of Evans at the helm of the GOP."
"The right-wing power brokers of the Republican Party are doing all they can to stay in power. James Evans is their puppet. As a moderate Republican, I think he has to go before he and his elitist group destroy the party."
"I supported James Evans when he was chair of the Salt Lake County Republican Party, but he has been an embarrassment as the state party chief. Though few like it, compromise is the fundamental requirement of politics. His refusal (supported by the extreme right wing of the party, including many delegates) forgets that and puts the party's dominance at risk. The moderate Republicans will start to give the Democrats a second look and make the state much more competitive politically. That is precisely the opposite of the party chairman's job."
"James is doing what's in the best interest of his party. If you agree with that or not is a different story. Who is there to run against James that is better qualified than him who is not a tired old insider in the vein of Orrin Hatch? There is a lot of wishful thinking going on but like someone coming in to take down Mike Lee it is not going to happen."
"I helped get James elected. I hope someone runs against him though. He has led the party down a rat hole fighting this fight."
"Chair Evans' actions are now bordering on ridiculous. This is bad for the Republican Party and we can only hope that a challenger comes forward."
"The far right has such a grip on the Republican Party in Utah that it's difficult to see anybody brave enough to fight them."
"Let's hope someone steps up to challenge him. James Evans has been an awful chairman. His latest idea to set up a Communist-style 'party platform purity' committee is embarrassing. I'd imagine there are a number of GOP office-holders who would gladly write the party a $10,000 check from their campaign accounts if Evans would just step down."
"James Evans has finally demonstrated publicly that the GOP operate the caucus system as a big scam."
"Evans is a blowhard. He was elected on his promise to kill Count My Vote but all he has accomplished is creating even more divisiveness in the GOP. He is self-serving and toxic."
"I don't think James will run. He has been difficult to work with and he doesn't have the support of elected officials. He has run off goodwill and the support to be effective in the role."