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photo courtesy Ben Burdett These signs directing people to Republican caucus locations also contain an advertisement for Congressional candidate Bob Fuehr.
Rolly: Party backing Mia Love’s GOP foe? No, it just wants money


| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Mar 25 2014 10:48 pm • Last Updated Mar 26 2014 09:58 am

Some Republicans attending precinct caucuses last week may have gotten the impression the party was endorsing Bob Fuehr over odds-on favorite Mia Love for the GOP nomination in the 4th Congressional District.

Signs advertising caucus locations had the GOP brand and the "paid for by the Utah Republican Party" disclaimer, but also boasted in large, bold print: "Bob Fuehr for Congress."

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State GOP Chairman James Evans says it was just an innovative way for the party to save money while getting the word out about the caucuses.

Every congressional candidate was offered the opportunity to buy 3,500 signs for $7,000.

Love, along with incumbent Congressmen Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart, turned down the offer, while Fuehr and Congressman Rob Bishop accepted.

Whether it was a wise investment for Fuehr is questionable. One precinct chairman told me he didn’t display the signs, instead simply storing them on his back porch. Several others displayed the signs, but cut out the part containing Fuehr’s name.

Pinching pennies • Perhaps if Fuehr hadn’t paid $7,000 for those signs that were sparsely used, he would have been able to lease a fancier campaign office.

Fuehr, who is the state’s former business and economic development director, lists on his campaign website his office address as 32 W. 200 South, Suite 224, Salt Lake City.

That is the UPS Store.

A family affair • Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, who is expected to challenge Gov. Gary Herbert for the Republican nomination in 2016, ran for precinct chair at her neighborhood caucus Thursday and crushed the competition.

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As an elected official, she already has an automatic Utah County GOP delegate seat and membership on the county’s Central Committee. Now she holds two county delegate seats and one state delegate seat.

She could have let a neighbor become precinct chair but instead has prevented a potential additional voice from her precinct from having a delegate vote.

In addition, her husband, lobbyist Stan Lockhart, also holds two county delegate seats and two memberships on the county’s Central Committee — from being a past party chair and from being the current legislative district chair.

The Rapture? When GOP delegate lists were downloaded after last week’s precinct caucuses, about 500 of the slightly more than 1,500 delegates in Utah County had disappeared.

No, they didn’t all go to heaven at the same time.

A new computer system known as Voter Click did not record nearly a third of the delegates, leaving candidates waiting for the full list.

Evans, the state GOP chairman, says it was a statewide problem but affected Utah County the most. The new program is designed to record the Utah House district, state Senate district and congressional district for each precinct. But some were not programmed correctly and the results of those precincts went unrecorded.

The irony: Evans pushed for Rick Votaw to fill a vacancy as party secretary last December because Votaw is a retiree with web design expertise who could devote full-time attention to caucus preparations. But Utah County delegates, voting en masse, helped elect Cameron Robinson, from Utah County, who has a full-time job and could not devote as much time to the task.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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