Salt Lake County GOP stunned as chairman resigns unexpectedly

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake County Republican Chairman Jake Parkinson, seen here in October 2017, resigned unexpectedly Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018.

Members of the Salt Lake County Republican Party leadership were surprised Saturday morning by an email from the group’s leader, announcing his resignation.

Chairman Jake Parkinson stepped down without giving reason, regional chairwoman Laurie Stringham confirmed Saturday evening.

“I know several of us have called to see if everything is OK, but we haven’t heard back,” she said.

Parkinson did not return a voicemail requesting comment.

After calling other members, Stringham said she’s confident no one knew about the resignation beforehand.

Stringham said she’s worked with Parkinson for years, adding that he is amazing at his job and devoted to the party. It makes the resignation that much more stunning, she said.

“Nothing short of something really going on in his own life would cause him to step down,” Stringham said.

Going forward, vice chairwoman Jennifer Jensen will fill in as interim leader. Jensen, previously a regional chairwoman, was appointed Thursday to the newly created position, Stringham said.

Jensen was not immediately available for comment.

Stringham said she spoke with Jensen on Saturday, and Jensen said it will be “business as usual,” including the annual Lincoln Day dinner being held Feb. 24.

“All the regional chairs will step up and help her with the process,” Stringham said.

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