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Rolly: County GOP's picnic goes head to head with guv's gala

Published September 18, 2013 8:35 am

Column • Bennion schedules Constitution Day event at same time as Herbert's fundraiser.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Salt Lake County GOP Chairman Chad Bennion is the gift that keeps on giving.

Bennion had fellow Republicans running for cover recently when he called Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill a "cop hater" because the Democratic D.A. did his job and painstakingly investigated the fatal police shooting of a 21-year-old woman suspected of buying drugs.

Now, Bennion and his county GOP team have scheduled the Constitution Day picnic at the same time as Republican Gov. Gary Herbert's annual fundraising gala.

The reception for the black-tie gala, at $500 a ticket and $5,000 a table, begins Friday at 6 p.m. at Salt Lake City's Grand America hotel, while the picnic starts at 6 p.m. at West Valley City's Centennial Park.

The question: Which will be more attractive to your average Republican? The picnic, after all, is free, and you get to show how much you love the Constitution. Plus, you don't have to wear a tux.

On the other hand, is it wise for any ambitious Republican not to be seen at the guv's gig?

Oh, the awkward positions the party's county chair keeps putting his people in.

Speaking of fundraisers • Mia Love, Saratoga Springs' mayor and a second-time congressional candidate, is having an exclusive fundraiser for deep-pocket donors Sept. 28 at a private home in Davis County.

The honorary co-chairs are Gov. Gary Herbert, Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, and Reps. Rob Bishop and Chris Stewart.

Did you notice a glaring omission?

There is no Rep. Jason Chaffetz on that list.

Chaffetz assured me there are no hard feelings between him and Love, who likely will face a GOP challenger in her quest to get the party's nod in the 4th Congressional District for a second time.

He said he makes no endorsements of GOP candidates, as a matter of policy, before they secure the nomination. And he seeks no endorsements from fellow Republicans while he might face a GOP challenge.

Speaking of Love • I wrote recently about a fundraising flier for Love distributed by the Conservative Campaign Committee urging contributors to help elect her because she is such a great conservative has such an inspiring story of immigrant parents teaching their children self-sufficiency.

The flier's sponsors gush over Love in words, but fall short in pictures.

They put a photo of a different African American Republican woman candidate on the flier, thinking it was Love.

The Conservative Campaign Committee has distributed similar fliers for other GOP hopefuls around the country without those candidates' cooperation or permission. The suspicion is the group keeps much of the money for itself.

The update, I'm told, is a lawyer for the Love campaign has written to the CCC, warning the group not to put the likeness of Love on their fliers. And the National Republican Congressional Committee has warned the group not to put the Congressional Seal on their fliers either.

Of course, no one can stop the group from sending out fundraising fliers directing contributors to donate to the committee on behalf of whatever candidate it wants to name because the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case made it so easy to do those sorts of things.

prolly@sltrib.com