To save the caucus and strengthen the party, Utah GOP will need new leadership

To save the caucus and strengthen the party, Utah GOP will need new leadership

There’s no doubt the Utah Republican Party is at a critical time in its history. First we had the “Count My Vote” ballot initiative that sought to allow candidates to bypass the caucus and convention system and still make it on the primary ballot. This led to the passage of SB 54, a bill passed in 2013 which dictated to the Utah GOP (and other parties) how they need to run their elections if they want their party’s name to appear on the ballot next to its candidates’ names.

Now the Utah Republican Party has filed a lawsuit challenging SB 54’s legality. I support the lawsuit and hope a win for the Utah GOP and a win for the right for a private political party to control how it chooses its nominees. To accomplish this, we’re going to need new leadership.

Here’s what we need to save the caucus system and strengthen the Utah Republican party:

We need leadership that can effectively communicate to the press. No more PR disasters. This doesn’t mean we need to shy away from standing on principle. We can stand up for what we believe and communicate it in such a way that it doesn’t get distorted in the media.

We need someone who will sufficiently prepare for caucus night. This is arguably one of the most important things the chair does during his term, and it’s especially important in 2016 since the caucus will be under extra scrutiny. We need a chair who will put together a great team to advertise caucus night to ensure good attendance. We need to fully test our data entry software so we don’t have all the issues we had last year (by the way, our current chair had plenty of time to test the Voterclick software and he put off the final decision until it was too late). We need to make caucus night a great experience for everyone that attends. That will require a lot of planning and preparation, which is something we just did not do very well in 2014.

We need a leader who will raise enough money to run the party and fund the lawsuit, without having to beg the county parties or elected officials for donations.

We need leadership that has the political smarts to win elections. No more embarrassing mailers that do more harm than good. No more dishonest videos that end up helping Democrats get elected. It’s time for a leader that will help our candidates’ chances instead of hurting them.

We need more transparency in the Utah GOP. It’s a sad state of affairs when even the other party officers don’t know what our chair is doing. Let’s be more open and invite more participation. When more people are involved in the decision making and planning, we get better results.

At this critical time, the Utah Republican Party needs capable leadership so we can protect the caucus and strengthen the party. It’s time for a change.

About author

Michael Jolley
Michael Jolley 29 posts

Michael has been active in Utah politics since 2009 and admits he still has a lot to learn. He lives in Provo with his wife Jessica and their two small children. Follow Michael on Twitter: @UTJolley

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  • Parsons

    I agree, but until I see a candidate out there who can do those things while standing on principle, I’m going to stick with James Evans. James is far from perfect, but I’ll support him over a Kirk Jowers disciple any day.

    • I agree with you there. I don’t want anyone who wants to get rid of the caucus system.