Lee Announces He Will Use Signature Route and Convention System to Get on 2016 Ballot

mike leeIn a major victory for backers of SB54, Sen. Mike Lee announced on Wednesday he would pursue both possible routes, caucus/convention and signature gathering, to get on the 2016 ballot.

In a press release Lee said, “From the time the legislature passed, and Governor Herbert signed, SB54 I have been clear about my intention to utilize both paths to get onto the primary ballot.  We are at a point now where rulings have been issued and the election cycle is set to begin.  I have instructed my campaign team to move forward to execute strategies to successfully compete in the caucus-and-convention system while also gathering the necessary signatures to get on the ballot.”
Utah GOP Chair James Evans, who has been fighting against SB54 since it was passed by the 2014 Legislature, has said the party may not allow candidates who use the signature gathering route to get on the ballot to remain in the Republican Party unless they also get a yet-to-be-determined level of support from delegates at the convention as well. Lee probably won’t have a problem meeting whatever threshold the Utah GOP sets, but his support for the signature route is significant. 
The Utah Lt. Governor’s Office has repeatedly said a party must allow both routes to the ballot in order to be considered a “qualified political party.” Only a qualified party can also use the caucus and convention system to get on the ballot. Parties who do are not considered “qualified” under SB54 are deemed as “registered” and only allowed to use the signature route for candidates.
“I am a proponent of the caucus system and believe it has served our state well, advancing elected officials from across the Republican spectrum,” Lee continued in his statement. “It isn’t a perfect system because there is no such thing. I have always supported efforts to increase voter participation. Tweaks to the primary election system have been advanced in the past and I am hopeful that with these reforms more Utahns than ever will participate the political process.”