UtahPolicy.com publisher LaVarr Webb was asked by the Salt Lake County GOP to contribute to their annual Lincoln Day dinner. Webb penned the following response and shared it with the media.
Thank you for the invitation to contribute to the Salt Lake County Republican Party. Because the state Republican Party is filing a lawsuit against SB54, in an obvious attempt to thwart the efforts of Count My Vote, I will not be contributing to the Republican Party at any level. I recognize that you do not represent the state party, but State Chair James Evans has said he will solicit money from the county parties to pay for the lawsuit. I do not want my contributions funding a lawsuit that I do not support and that would destroy the hard work of numerous mainstream Republicans and business leaders.
By filing the lawsuit, Mr. Evans has created a deep schism within the Republican Party. His lawsuit directly contravenes the will of most mainstream Republicans and the vast majority of Utahns. He is making it clear that mainstream conservatives are not welcome in the party -- which is apparently controlled by the extreme right wing. SB54 was passed overwhelmingly by a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and signed by a Republican governor. Count My Vote and SB54 are also supported by former Republican governors, former Republican members of Congress, and former Republican state legislators. Why, then, would their own party attack it?
SB54 represents the most important political reform in many decades, and I personally worked hard to support it. It would be stupid for me and the thousands of other Republicans who support Count My Vote to contribute to the Republican Party at any level. I don’t contribute to organizations that are trying to destroy things I hold dear.
I question whether the Utah Republican Party remains a big tent. I question whether a place exists in the party for mainstream conservatives like me (and the vast majority of Utahns).
The party is a private organization and it certainly has the right to do what it wants to do. But mainstream conservatives also have the right to decline to support an organization working against their wishes.
I have been a member of the Republican Elephant Club for a number of years, and I am copying this message to other members of the Elephant Club, other key leaders, and also the news media. Perhaps mainstream Republicans will reach the same conclusion I have: that it makes no sense to contribute to the Utah Republican Party when it is fighting against our best interests. In fact, mainstream Republicans and business leaders might consider contributing to the Count My Vote organization, which must now raise substantial money to fight the Republican Party’s lawsuit against SB54.
LaVarr Webb is the publisher of UtahPolicy.com and on the board of Count My Vote.