Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Salt Lake Tribune: GOP to Sue Over Deal That Lets Candidates Skip Utah’s Caucus System - Updated

No doubt about it; these latest Utah GOP power-grabbing maneuvers will be a true marvel to behold

Upon the publication of yesterday's Weber County Forum story, reporting on rumors about Utah GOP "legislative and legal plans to gut the law and obstruct intent of the compromise Count My Vote law, passed overwhelmingly in the 2014 Legislative Session, empowering voters by giving candidates an alternative path to the primary election ballot," little did we realize that we'd be following up on new developments a mere 24 hours later. The staff of the Tribune have been working like dogs on this story however.  So here's the latest, via the Trib's Robert Gehrke. Now that the November elections are in the past tense, it appears that the Utah GOP party bosses are pulling out all the stops and moving full speed ahead.Here's Mr. Gehrke's introductory lede to this morning's eye-popping Trib story, for starters:
The Utah Republican Party plans to file a lawsuit Wednesday, asking a judge to declare unconstitutional a deal to let candidates compete for the party nomination while circumventing the party's convention process.
Meantime, a state senator and opponent of the deal, Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, said he will once again sponsor legislation that would essentially obliterate the agreement, allowing parties to make their own rules when it comes to nominating candidates.
Here's the full story, Utah Sheeple:
Here's the nitty-gritty:
The GOP plans to argue in its lawsuit that attempts by the state to dictate the organization’s nominating process violates its First Amendment right to free association.
"My position has always been that the government doesn't have the authority to dictate how we select our nominees, period," said Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans. "A court will clearly have to define those boundaries and, absent that, the only boundary we have is what was passed in the law, and that is simply not constitutionally appropriate."
The lawsuit has been a long time coming and is a strategy that has twice been endorsed by the party's governing body and once received a vote of support from delegates. Evans said he plans to file the suit on behalf of the party on Wednesday.
It will then fall to the attorney general and the lieutenant governor to defend the law, SB54, a compromise with the Count My Vote group that received broad support during the legislative session.
And here's the addition kicker:
[Weber County's own Senator Scott] Jenkins, meantime, said Monday he will once again introduce a proposed amendment to the Utah Constitution which would plainly state that parties can pick their nominees any way they want, without interference from the state.
It would, in essence, wipe out the agreement struck in SB54.
"That dings Count My Vote pretty hard," he said.
Jenkins said he also plans to sponsor a bill that allows parties to decide who is allowed on their party primary ballot, even if the state is paying for the primaries.
Mr Gehreke further reports that "'Kirk Jowers, one of the leaders of the Count My Vote movement, said he has met with representatives from both [the Governor's and Attorney General's?] state offices and they have assured him they would defend the law 'with vigor.' 'We anticipate the state defending its law forcefully,' Jowers, an attorney, said. 'I think there really is zero legal question on the heart and soul of SB54.'"

We dunno, folks. Somehow Mr. Jowers's reassurances sound a mite like "whistling in the dark," No? The underlying fact that the Utah Governor and Attorney General are Republicans in this circumstance doesn't exactly inspire confidence, does it?

We'll keep you all posted on what we anticipate to be fast-breaking developments, of course.

No doubt about it; these latest Utah GOP power-grabbing maneuvers will be a true marvel to behold.

Update 11/26/14 9:20 a.m.: The Tribune chimes in this morning with a strong editorial, urging that SB54 should stand. "It was a reasonable compromise that should, at the very least, get a full election cycle tryout," says the Trib editorial board:


blackrulon said...

About now the GOP is hoping for a "rogue" judge to subvert the will of the state legislature.

rudizink said...

Good luck for the current Utah GOP party, which is run these days by a sleazy Pay-Day Loans loanshark.

Ozboy said...

Now who woulda guessed that these disingenuous and greedy pricks who control the GOP, and everything that moves in Utah, would do such a chicken shit thing as renege on a deal they made in good faith?

I'm shocked that they would act so predictably!

The only real solution to dealing with low class and dishonest people like this is for Count My Vote to come back full force, do a whole new petition drive and get a friggen constitutional amendment in place once and for all. No negotiating in good faith the next time. I'm ready, are you?

rudizink said...

I've been thinking about this over the past coupla days, Oz, and I think, if ever this does wind up in court, CMV might have a good case in equity, to seek a court order reviving the CMV petition, at the point they left off, rather than having to go back to square one with a new petition.

Ozboy said...


Just where, in Utah, is this place called "Equity".

I looked all over some Utah maps and couldn't find anything remotely like that.
I'm pretty sure that no such place exists hereabouts.

Ray said...

Ozboy-I think it's between hell and freezing over ..Ray

Danny said...

The arguments you post here are so bizzare to me I wonder if they're for real.

It's a political party. They should be able to choose their candidates however THEY wish. The government has no business telling a political party how to choose its offering of candidates any more than it has any business telling me who my friends must be.

And as far as "insiders", we all know that this "count my vote" issue was pushed by the likes of Bob Bennett and his banking cronies (not to mention their University stooges) who were mad their money could not get Bennett nominated. Count My Vote are the insiders.

With the "compromise legislation", a banking industry hireling can simply run outside the nomination system, and with advertising money can hope to secure sufficient votes for a place on the ballot.

So in national politics you don't think unlimited money should be allowed. But locally it should be, rendering the party caucuses and conventions pointless.

And all of this in the name of freedom? Truly bizarre.

The lawsuit by the Republican Party makes sense.

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