Press Release: Utah Republican Party Seeks to have Court Decide Next SB 54 Issue Because LG’s Office is No Longer Seen as Honest Broker

UTGOP Logo 02Tuesday James M. Evans, Chairman of the Utah Republican Party, sent a letter asking Lt. Governor Spencer Cox to respect the Party’s position regarding SB 54 and either acknowledge the Party’s rights in deciding how it intends to proceed or frame the issue so that the Party can take it back to court to resolve their disagreement. 

Government counsel raised an issue at the court hearing held October 27, 2015, which he described for Judge Nuffer as “the next lawsuit” between the Party and the State. The issue raised concerned specifically whether there was a conflict in how Utah Code Ann. §§ 20A-9-101(12)(d) and 20A-9-406(3) should be interpreted. The Party interprets 101(12)(d) as allowing a political party the option of providing for only one nominating option. The government attorney conceded that point, but argued that a different provision, 406(3) conflicted with that provision in granting a member the right to pursue the Party’s nomination through a different option. 

20A-9-101(12) – “Qualified political party” means a registered political party that:

(d) – permits a member of the registered political party to seek the registered political party’s nomination for any elective office by the member choosing to seek the nomination by either or both of the following methods:
(i)            seeking the nomination through the registered political party’s convention process, in accordance with the provisions of Section 20A-9-407; or
(ii)           seeking the nomination by collecting signatures, in accordance with the provisions of Section 20A-9-408; and


(The Utah Republican Party has chosen to permit the convention process and its candidates membership in the Party is based, in part, on them adhering to the convention process.)


20A-9-406: The following provisions apply to a qualified political party:

(3) an individual may only seek the nomination of the qualified political party by using a method described in Section 20A-9-407, Section 20A-9-408, or both;

 “Given existing concerns, and the recent unprofessional comments in the Salt Lake Tribune by the LG’s Chief Deputy/Chief Elections Officer ( ), in particular, “Notwithstanding all the crazy stuff, with James [Evans] saying it was gutted, to us, we are moving forward as we always have.”,  we have decided it is in the best interests of the party to not seek the LG’s interpretation of the law.  Instead we want to proceed to court for a determination since we have lost confidence that we would get a fair hearing and that the LG’s office would be an honest broker. 

Click here for the link to the complete trial transcript. Pages 34-36 address the exchange between Judge Nuffer and government’s counsel on this issue.