Provo Mayor John Curtis claimed victory in the three-way runoff Tuesday to be the GOP nominee in the bid to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who resigned his 3rd Congressional District seat earlier this year.
Curtis had about 42 percent of the vote by the end of election night, while Herrod had about 31 percent and Ainge 27 percent.
“Thanks, Ainge, for peeling conservative votes away from Chris Herrod and giving the election to Curtis. You can kiss your political future in Utah goodbye,” Cathy Sorensen wrote on the Great GOP Utah State Delegates Facebook page.”
It was one of several posts on conservative-leaning social media, with some suggesting Ainge was a plant to drain votes from Herrod, who won the delegates’ nod in the special Republican convention to get on the primary ballot. Ainge and Curtis qualified by gathering the required number of signatures, a new provision courtesy of the compromise SB54 the Legislature passed in 2014.
Here is the irony:
The anti-SB54 crowd, those Republicans who passionately resist any moves away from the traditional system of delegates selected at neighborhood caucuses being the sole arbiters of the nominating process at the party convention, comprise Herrod’s base.
That group argued that if multiple hopefuls could qualify for a primary ballot by gathering signatures, besides the convention-picked candidate, the primary victor could be the party’s nominee with just a plurality, rather than a majority, of Republican voters.
The Legislature sought to fix that earlier this year and guess who killed that effort? The Herrod-backing group ardently holding on to the caucus/convention-only idea.
SB114 would have provided for a runoff between the top two primary vote-getters if no candidate reached a certain threshold.
The original bill would have required a runoff if no candidate got more than 35 percent of the primary vote, and there were more than three candidates on the ballot.
That was a starting point, said the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo. After the measure overwhelmingly passed the Senate, had the House amended it to require a 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff, and reduced the number of candidates to qualify, the Senate would have gone along with it, Bramble said.
Instead, the House amended the bill to flat out repeal SB54 and go back to the caucus/convention-only system.
After that, it died in the Senate.
Had it passed with an amended 50 percent threshold, Herrod would be in a head-to-head runoff with Curtis.
Call it a case of cutting off your political nose to spite your political face.
Holding onto control? • Acting Salt Lake County Recorder Julie Dole has been taking some heat this week for posting 6-year-old endorsements from her race for Salt Lake County Republican chairwoman leading up to the Central Committee selection of a new recorder.
Most of the two dozen Republicans whose endorsements she has retooled have said they don‘t endorse her for the recorder’s job. Several have demanded she take their images and quotes off the page.
If that wasn’t enough, here’s another one:
When Dole was head of the Salt Lake County GOP, she established a county Republican Party Facebook page, with her as administrator, on which party members could share ideas and post their opinions on issues.
She hasn’t been the county chairwoman since 2013, but she has not relinquished control of the page to the subsequent party officers.
Current Chairman Jake Parkinson said Dole has not responded to multiple requests to let the officers administer the page. Suzanne Mulet, who was Parkinson’s predecessor, confirmed Parkinson’s stand that the party has sought control of the page, which has about 1,100 members for several years.
Dole, on the other hand, told me that nobody asked her — until recently, while she was on vacation— to relinquish control, a job she did on a volunteer basis for the GOP. She maintained the current officers were making it an issue now to hurt her chances in the special recorder’s election.
Parkinson noted Dole has been back from vacation for a couple of weeks now, and she still hasn’t turned over control of the page.
So much for party unity.