Thomas Wright — former chairman of the Utah Republican Party and now its national committeeman — was elected over the weekend as one of eight chairmen and chairwomen of the Republican National Committee. That group includes four men and four women.
He says cannot remember any other Utahn serving in that national party post. However, one Utahn, Richard Richards, was chairman of the national party from 1981 to 1983.
“The duties are to help unify the party, recruit candidates, fundraise and promote the conservative values that we find in our Republican Party platform” by helping organize grassroots efforts in the states, he said.
Wright added that he ran for the post as an opportunity to serve the party he loves. “I’m always interested in serving to the degree that I can be useful and make a difference.”
Wright said the top goal for him and the RNC is to hold the party’s majority in both houses of Congress in next year’s elections.
“There’s always challenges in mid-term elections for the party that holds the White House to hold their majorities. The Democrats weren’t able to do that with [President Barack] Obama. If you look back at history, it’s tough to do,” he said.
“As Republicans we have to identify candidates who uphold our conservative values and who are willing to tackle the tough issues of the day,” he said, and then help them raise the money and support needed to win.
“I also think we have to find Republicans who are willing to do that in a civil way, while treating their opponents with civility, listening to their points of view and trying to find common ground.”
Wright said he supported Trump at the last national convention, and hopes to help the party maintain the support he needs for success.
“I believe there should always be a vigorous debate among Republicans about who they feel should be the candidate, and once that has been decided we should rally together,” he said.
“I would harken it back to Ronald Reagan, when he said if you agree with me 80 percent of the time then you are my friend. I think sometimes we have a tendency in politics to find people we agree with 100 percent of the time, and that doesn’t happen in life and that certainly doesn’t happen in politics,” he said.
Wright was chairman of the Salt Lake County Republican Party from 2009 to 2011, when he became chairman of the state party — and served in that role until 2013.
Last year, he was elected as the party’s national committeeman, or one of its three members of the RNC along with the national committeewoman and the state chairman.