The United Utah Party calls for greater inclusion and increased civility in Utah politics and has issued the following statement:
The eyes of the nation were turned to Utah this past weekend, and they were dismayed at what they saw.
Delegates to the Utah Republican State Convention loudly interrupted Senator Mitt Romney’s address with boos and catcalls, prompting pleas for peace from party leaders who were largely ignored. This churlish and childish behavior was reported in many national media outlets, and it served as an embarrassment both to the Utah Republican Party and the state as a whole.
This unfortunate incident highlights the extremism that has taken root in the Utah GOP.
Senator Romney enjoys a positive approval rating that is higher than that of his colleague, Senator Mike Lee, yet Senator Lee was embraced by the delegates while Senator Romney was subjected to jeers and schoolyard taunts. This provided a stark illustration of the reality that state Republican leaders are largely out of step with the will of the voters at large. It also demonstrates that the convention system caters to a culture of incivility and extremism that does not serve the best interests of the people of Utah.
We call on the Utah Republican Party to issue a formal apology to Senator Romney and to Governor Spencer Cox, who was also subjected to similarly rude outbursts. We further urge Republican party leaders to take proactive steps to roll back exclusionary practices, such as closed primaries and the voter affiliation restrictions of HB 197, that encourage and embolden the extremes within their party. The Utah most of us know and love was not the Utah on display last Saturday. Senator Romney and Governor Cox deserve better, as does every citizen of the state.