Salt Lake County Republicans turned Saturday to former legislator Chad Bennion as their new party leader.
Bennion, a three-term House member from Murray who served as the county party’s vice chairman the past two years, collected 73 percent of delegates’ votes to defeat Mike Livsey. The position was vacated by Julie Dole.
"Julie did a great job, but we’re not going to stand still," a hoarse Bennion said after the convention concluded at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy.
A main plank of his campaign was a pledge to protect the state’s existing caucus and convention system from those favoring a switch to a primary election.
"This system, created to embody our republic form of government, as envisioned by our framers, is the bedrock of our nation and the foundation of our party here in Utah," Bennion said.
Livsey also was an advocate for caucuses and conventions.
Bennion, 48, said he hopes to improve the county GOP’s use of technology to spread its message to candidates, delegates and the party faithful. "We can do a great job educating people that our caucus system mirrors the things our republic was founded upon."
"We have some good people involved with the party who have experience in those areas," he said, adding that he intends to provide Republican enthusiasts with more chances to advance party causes.
"We need to utilize their talents," said Bennion, whose campaign literature said involvement will "provide a foundation of experience and skills for our children and grandchildren’s success in maintaining the legacy of individual liberty that has made us the freest people in the history of the world."
Bennion works for a Salt Lake City law firm, Mumford Rawson, handling administrative cases.
Joining him in the county party’s leadership ranks are vice chairwoman Suzanne Mulet, who also has been an executive in the Utah Hispanic Republican Assembly; secretary Michelle Hunt; and treasurer Mel Nimer.
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