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‘The Rundown’: Utah gets more ‘Trumpy’ as the GOP shifts to the right

Your Monday morning Utah political news cheat sheet

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Good Monday morning, Utah!

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Curtis says Cheney is right that the 2020 election was legitimate, but he may support her ouster anyway

Rep. John Curtis agrees with Rep. Liz Cheney.

He agrees the presidential election was legitimate, and Republicans should resist those who tell lies about it, including former President Donald Trump.

But that doesn’t mean he won’t vote to remove Cheney for her leadership position within the House Republican caucus.

”It’s not Liz’s opposition to President Trump. It is the time and place and the manner she’s expressing it,” said Curtis, R-Utah.

House Republicans will vote Wednesday to strip Cheney of her role as the No. 3 ranking Republican, which is increasingly likely as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is backing her ouster.

Curtis said he wouldn’t make up his mind until Cheney is given a chance to address her fellow Republicans. But he places the onus on Cheney to explain how she can capably be a unifying figure within the Republican Party.

”There’s a big difference between being a leader of our party and somebody who needs to unify and bring us together, and Liz, being able to speak out any times she wants about President Trump, which certainly nobody denies her. And I, quite frankly, I echo her message that it’s a mistake not to call out the lies about the election, and I personally have tried to do that myself, but there is a time and a place and a way to do that.”

--Matt Canham


Here’s what you need to know for Monday morning

The newly-elected Utah Republican Party Secretary, Olivia Horlacher, was on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 attempted insurrection. The party seems to be shifting to the political right, which could significantly impact Utah [Tribune].

Kristen Cox, Utah’s former budget chief, got lawmakers to pony up $350,000 in public funds for a new program at the University of Utah and carved out a full-time position for herself [Tribune].

All four of Utah’s Republican House members have submitted requests for budget earmarks. Here’s a look at what those spending proposals entail [Tribune].

The Weber County GOP voted to censure Sen. Mitt Romney a week after the state party narrowly defeated an attempt to sanction him for his opposition to former President Trump [Tribune].

Gov. Spencer Cox said Sunday that he supports the Republican-led push to end enhanced unemployment benefits because many businesses are having difficulty filling open positions. Cox said paying people not to work keeps them out of the workforce because it’s a “disincentive” to work [Tribune].

A massive ransomware cyberattack forced the shutdown of a major U.S. pipeline. Experts say if the shutdown lasts more than a few days, it could cause shortages and a rise in gasoline prices. The pipeline provides the east coast of the U.S. with more than half its gasoline and jet fuel [AP].

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threw his support behind New York Republican Elise Stefanik as the all but certain ouster of Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney from her leadership spot in the House Republican caucus barreled ahead [Axios].

Prices on consumer goods are moving higher as the cost of raw materials is up across the board [WSJ].

The U.S. may be turning a corner on the COVID-19 pandemic, according to experts. 58% of adults and 46% of the total population in the U.S. have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine [CNN].

Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly threatened to quit last year over former President Donald Trump’s efforts to fire FBI Director Chris Wray [Insider].

The Department of Homeland Security is launching a strategy to gather and analyze intelligence from social media posts to warn of pending domestic terrorism attacks [NBC News].

The divorce drama involving billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda began in 2019 when she reportedly met with divorce lawyers. Those discussions started around the time Bill’s relationship with Jeffery Epstein was made public [WSJ].


Monday’s Utah news roundup

Utah

  • Utah plans to launch digital driver license program next year [Tribune].

  • Cache County HR department investigating exodus of female workers from clerk’s office [Tribune].

  • How reserving campsites in Utah became a nightmare. And what you can do about it [Tribune].

  • After tension over her speaking, here’s what the wife of the LDS president told graduates at Utah Valley University [Tribune].

  • Post-pandemic travel boom hits Utah [Fox 13].

  • What Utahns think about President Joe Biden’s handling of COVID-19 [KSL].

  • Live theater returning to Salt Lake City sparks more local business [KUTV].

  • The dreams Maj. Brent Taylor carried into war [Deseret News].

  • As water managers warn of ‘worst on record’ drought, what do people think should be done to save water? [Deseret News].

  • Buying a home brings fear and trepidation in hot markets [Deseret News].

COVID

  • Utah reports 232 COVID-19 cases and one death Sunday [Tribune].

  • The LDS Church could supercharge Utah’s drive to the vaccination finish line [Tribune].

  • Will surge of COVID-19 variants be detected in Utah following spring break travel to Florida? [Deseret News].

  • Washington County schools no longer require masks on campus [St. George News].

Development

  • Why Navajo Mountain, one of Utah’s most remote communities, may become less isolated [Tribune].

Local government

  • Utah’s new homeless service coordinator, easing into role, tours Ogden facilities [Standard-Examiner].

  • Orem claims to have best water in Utah on tap [Daily Herald].

  • Summit County launches a program to overturn wrongful convictions [Park Record].

On the opinion pages

  • Robert Gehrke: Here’s one instance where SLC police training on how to respond to people with autism paid off [Tribune].

  • Racism as a child broke me, but now I’m speaking up [Deseret News].

  • Hold the hostility. Here’s the path forward for LGBTQ and religious rights [Deseret News].


You say it’s your birthday?!

Happy birthday to Salt Lake County Councilwoman and former gubernatorial candidate Aimee Winder Newton and former Utah state Rep. Lynn Hemingway. 

Belated birthday wishes to former Rep. and current GOMB Director Sophia DiCaro, Murray City Council member Diane Wiley-Turner, Liddy Huntsman, daughter of former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, and Diana Lee Hirschi, who all celebrated over the weekend.

Got a birthday you’d like us to recognize in this space? Send us an email.

--Tribune reporter Matt Canham contributed to this newsletter.

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