The Johnson for Governor campaign issued a statement today saying it will not engage in the S.B 54 signature petition process to get a place on the Republican primary ballot, but instead will continue to focus on the caucus-convention system and meet and talk directly with Utahns.
Sasha Clark, communications director, explained the reasoning: “We have a great campaign organization and a stellar candidate. Utahns want a businessman in office instead of another term from a career politician who’s been in public office for more than 25 years. If Gov. Herbert wants to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars he raised from lobbyists at his Governor’s Gala to pay an army of signature gathers to buy his way on to the primary ballot, that’s his prerogative. This campaign will use its resources to talk directly with Utahns and delegates.”
Clark continued: “The signature gathering initiative, created and funded by the political and business elite, is an incumbent protection plan – incumbents with greater access to and influence over donors. In a state-wide race, signature gathering is nearly impossible to do without hiring an expensive firm to gather signatures. S.B. 54 essentially allows candidates to buy a place on the primary ballot.”
Jonathan Johnson added: “I’ve been a state and county delegate several times. While the press often characterizes party delegates as extreme, that has not been my personal experience. I have found them diligent, thoughtful, responsible and concerned with what is best for Utah. I have great faith in the caucus-convention system. It has worked for decades. It allows everyday Utahns to participate in the political process. I look forward to continuing to spend quality time communicating directly with Utahns.”
Johnson continued: “The whole S.B. 54 process is still a mess. As things currently stand, gathering signatures is a waste of time and money. Further, I do not like an option that favors wealthy career politicians. When a ballot spot is for sale in Utah, we’re in trouble.”