Democratic delegates voted Saturday to keep current Chairman Jeff Merchant at the party’s helm.
Merchant received 67.5% of the vote at the state Democratic convention, which was held virtually. In a speech after the results were announced, he thanked party staff and his opponent, and said change is coming to Utah.
“As anyone who knows me will tell you, I talk too much about the change I see coming to Utah, but it’s true,” he said. “We’ve seen it in New Mexico, we’ve seen it in Colorado, we’ve seen it in Nevada, we’re seeing it in Arizona, and it is happening here. And the Republican Party, they’re scared.”
Although Merchant was optimistic, the party has had some difficulty at the ballot. Its only seat in Congress was lost when Ben McAdams was defeated by Rep. Burgess Owens, and it gained only one seat in the Utah Legislature. But the party has been doing better financially since Merchant took charge in 2019. Its debt has been eliminated, and more staffers have been employed.
Merchant was challenged by Utah County Democratic Chairman Daniel Hicken. Merchant thanked Hicken in his speech and said he has done a “fabulous” job in Utah County. Merchant said he hopes the delegates who did not support him are open-minded and will work with him to continue making things better in the state.
He asked Democrats to reach out to friends and neighbors, to work for candidates and to run in local elections.
“We are small, but we are a rapidly growing family,” he said, “and I believe that together we can and will make Utah a bluer place to be.”