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Rolly: Herrod loves to post doctored photos — is that the image of a congressman?

First Published      Last Updated Jun 19 2017 10:13 pm

The Republican nominated by delegates for the special-election primary ballot to replace retiring Rep. Jason Chaffetz once posted a doctored photo on his blog to show an image of him spanking KSL radio host Doug Wright.

"Take that, you little elitist curmudgeon," says the caption under the photo of Chris Herrod putting Wright on his knee and giving him a good whack.

Another photo on Herrod's blog, which has since been taken down but preserved by others from archives, is of former Sutherland Institute President Paul Mero altered to look like Marie Antoinette, with the caption, "Let Them Eat Cake."




Another has Mero shaking hands with Adolf Hitler, with Wright smiling in the background (Herrod seems to be obsessed with Wright), and another has Republican state Sens. Curt Bramble and Deidre Henderson and GOP Reps. Mike McKell and Francis Gibson swimming in a swamp, with the caption, "Drain the Swamp."

Would it be fair to say that Herrod, who now has a decent chance to become Utah's next congressman, has a lack-of-maturity problem?

A decade ago, when Herrod was first elected to the Utah House, he and four other first-term representatives — Carl Wimmer, Keith Grover, Ken Sumsion and Steve Sandstrom — were described in a Republican Party flyer as "The Fabulous Five" and celebrating their fight for liberty and justice.

Later, those same lawmakers were featured in a video as the founding members of the Patrick Henry Caucus. The video showed them marching through the state Capitol as superheroes to thundering music in the background.

It was roundly mocked.

None of them had particularly distinguished careers in the Legislature. They may be memorable only for spouting "Give me liberty or give me death" clichés. The only one still in the House is Grover. Sandstrom and Wimmer ran for the 4th Congressional District seat. Sumsion ran for governor and Herrod ran for the U.S. Senate. They all were defeated at the Utah Republican Convention.

After Herrod's dismal showing among delegates for his 2012 U.S. Senate bid, he ran against Bramble in state Senate District 16 last year and was easily defeated in the primary.

But he now is the convention delegates' pick for the 3rd Congressional District, thanks to a messed-up system the party devised to select its nominees in response to the Count My Vote compromise that allows candidates to qualify for the primary ballot through signature gathering.

Two other Republicans — Provo Mayor John Curtis and investment adviser Tanner Ainge — will be on the primary ballot because they gathered enough signatures to qualify. You can be assured they will be attacked by the GOP base for taking the signature-gathering route rather than the traditional convention path, which will give Herrod an edge.

Curtis, in particular, will be pillaged for once being a registered Democrat — like Ronald Reagan.

But to ensure the party's zealot wing got its candidate on the ballot to compete against the apostate signature gatherers, the GOP earlier this year changed the convention rules so only one candidate would emerge from the convention. The new rules stated that multiple ballots would be taken until one candidate got 50 percent-plus-one of the delegate vote.

Traditionally, a candidate needs 60 percent in the convention to eliminate opponents without a primary. That's to ensure the nominee has decent backing among Republicans if there will be no primary in which the broader GOP base could vote.

Under the old rules, Herrod and Henderson would have advanced, since it took Herrod five ballots to break the 50 percent threshold, and Henderson was still right behind him.

In the first round, Henderson actually had the lead, losing that advantage in subsequent tallies as supporters of the eliminated candidates migrated toward Herrod.

What this new 50 percent rule means is that Herrod, who was not even the convention's first choice and has rarely been successful when challenging other Republicans, will be on the ballot and will be touted as the GOP's choice, courtesy of a manipulated system allowing a small band of fringe insiders to still control the process despite the Count My Vote compromise's goal to open it up to a wider spectrum of Republican voters.

prolly@sltrib.com

 

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