Utah Democrats release media advisory about upcoming convention without naming party chair’s challengers

(Rick Egan | Tribune file photo) Daisy Thomas comments as she and candidates for the Utah Democratic Party Chair, Becky Moss, Jeff Marchant and Robert Comstock face each other in a debate with moderators Eric Biggart and Sasha Luks-Morgan, hosted by the Issue and Identity Caucuses of the Utah Democratic Party at the Salt Lake City public library, June 6, 2019.

The current head of the Utah Democratic Party figured prominently in a Wednesday news release about the group’s convention Saturday, with a mention of her reelection bid even plopped in toward the end.

Her opponents' names, on the other hand, were nowhere to be found.

Jeff Merchant, one of Daisy Thomas’ rivals for the post of party chair, said he doesn’t necessarily think the discrepancy is appropriate, but he’s not concerned about it.

“We’re running a campaign on the things that I think are important to the party, which include things like the massive amount of debt and credit card debt, the complete lack of staff and that most of the county chairs and other officials in the party don’t feel like they’ve been supported by the state party,” he said.

The news release mentions that Thomas was an original signee on a resolution urging the Democratic National Committee to hold a presidential debate focused on climate change. The state party will consider a similar resolution at its upcoming convention.

"The devastating cost of inaction will hit Utahns particularly hard," Thomas said in the news release. "Climate Change is one of the most important issues facing our state and country and we demand the Democratic Party lead on this issue and prove their commitment by making it a focus in the 2020 Presidential race."

The media advisory also mentions that — since Thomas is running for her second term — former state Senate candidate Clare Collard will be chairing the convention Saturday. Thomas wrote in an email that her candidacy was only mentioned in the news release to explain why Collard would be leading the convention instead of her.

Becky Moss, a candidate for party chair, said she had no comment on the news release. The fourth candidate, Robert Comstock, did not return a call seeking comment.

The state party has weathered its share of challenges over Thomas’ two-year tenure. Earlier this year, its coffers were so empty that the executive committee decided to stop paying Thomas for the remainder of her term.

The organization has also faced criticism for its handling of sexual harassment allegations against a former party chair candidate, Rob Miller. While the accusations surfaced before Thomas took office, she was involved in dealing with the fallout.

However, Thomas has pointed out that Democrats made political gains during her time at the state party’s helm, scoring several seats in the state Legislature and winning the 4th Congressional District in the 2018 elections.

During the party’s organizing convention at Park City High School, Democrats will elect executive committee officers, hear from U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico and vote on a resolution to restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments to their original acreage, the news release states.