A congressional candidate who was kicked out of Saturday’s Salt Lake County Republican Convention says he was asked to leave after paying $300 for a booth because the Mia Love campaign insisted he go.
Tim Aalders is a conservative talk-radio commentator who is running in the 4th District as an Independent American Party candidate. He ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012 as a Republican, so he is known in the GOP, but he said he was surprised to be invited to Saturday’s convention because he now represents another party.
"I told them that I was with the Independent American Party," he said, "but they told me they still wanted me there. They said I had a good message to tell."
Aalders paid his $300 and a booth was reserved for him.
"They knew all week that he had a booth reserved and that he was with the Independent American Party," said delegate Jeff White, who witnessed the eviction. "Why did they wait until Saturday to tell him he wasn’t welcome?"
Aalders said he was told the Love campaign complained about his presence after a meet and greet at the convention location Friday night. He said he didn’t display Independent American Party signs, but just sat at his booth and took questions from delegates. He then told the delegates to ask Love the same questions so they could compare the two.
Love is the front-runner for the Republican nomination in the 4th District.
Afterward, Love campaign manager Dave Hansen complained about Aalders’ presence, he said, and persuaded party officials to uninvite him.
"We weren’t the only ones who complained," Hansen said. "He’s not a Republican. The convention is for Republican candidates."
But Dwayne Vance, who was with Aalders when he was told to leave, said he overheard the GOP official who had asked Aalders to buy a booth in the first place apologize to him and explain that Hansen, who has influence among Republican fundraisers, had insisted Aalders’ booth be removed.
Aalders wasn’t the only one asked to leave the convention. KUTV photographer Jay Hancock, who was setting up his camera equipment to cover the event, was kicked out of the delegate area.
Acting Salt Lake County Republican Chairwoman Suzanne Mulet told Channel 2 that the party is a private organization and must adhere to its rules.
But KUTV news director Jennifer Dahl said it’s the first time she has heard of that a news reporter was not allowed to cover a political convention.
Delegate Troy Council, who also witnessed Aalders’ ouster, blamed the actions on a few "yahoos" who give the party a bad name. He said most of the delegates would have been appalled had they known about the treatment of Aalders and the TV journalist.
"To say the media can’t come in because we’re a private organization is wrong," he said. "We’re delegates who represent the people. We should be open."
Chairman Casey Voeks said the party’s bylaws dictate that any group or individual promoted by the GOP must adhere to its principles. He said Equality Utah and the county party have opposing views on same-sex marriage. So GOP officials shut the door to the group.
Yuckin’ it up in Utah County • New Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes spoke at the Utah County Republican Women’s annual fundraising dinner Saturday night.
He told the group that earlier that day, when he spoke at the Utah County Republican Convention, he was told by the facilitator he had just two minutes. When he asked what would happen if he went over, the facilitator joked that he would have to shoot him.
Reyes then told the group he responded by telling the facilitator he better hit him with the first shot because "I’m packing and I shoot back."
It was Utah County, so everybody laughed.
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