Senate District 25 Race

Utah County Republican Party Statement

Re: Senate District 25 Race

The Utah County Republican Party appreciates the sincere interest in the complexities surrounding the Senate District 25 race. We feel that some background and explanation may be helpful.

The main purpose of the convention process is to facilitate delegate/local interaction with candidates. Final nominations to the Primary ballot are only one part of the overall purpose. Many candidates who also gather signatures also choose to engage in the convention route. The convention process provides many benefits to Republican candidates, within the jurisdiction of the Utah County Republican Party. Pre-convention benefits include: booth space at party sponsored “meet the candidate” events; booth space at the convention; access to email and postage-donation services; participation in candidate debates in front of delegates; speech time in front of delegates, and much more. We value this process immensely, for multiple reasons, and know that others value it as well. 

Although the Party’s governing body granted the candidate in question the ability to interact with the delegates, the Utah County Republican Party never assumed, and never had any intention of trying to assume, jurisdiction over qualifying a candidate for the primary ballot. We respect the Lieutenant Governor’s legal authority over primary ballot qualification. As a private organization, the Utah County Republican Party, with the approval of its governing body, does have jurisdiction over the convention process, delegate events, and who can participate in those events. It is important for Utah County Republican Party members and the public to understand that distinction. The Utah County Republican Party Constitution and Bylaws allow the governing body to make decisions about who can participate in the convention process. Both the Party and the State can reside within their jurisdictions without overreach. The Utah County Republican Party actively follows Utah’s laws first and foremost, and will continue to do so. In addition to following state law, we also have to follow the Utah State and County Party Constitution and Bylaws, and any votes of the Central Committee.

Michael Cook

    • filed as a signature-only candidate. His filing and approval were under the jurisdiction of the county clerk and state and their qualifications for how one becomes a candidate;

    • was approved as a candidate;

    • asked the Central Committee to allow him to participate in the convention process;

    • the Central Committee voted in favor;

Michael Cook then began to participate in delegate events. 

When the signature gathering deadline for the signature pathway passed (Monday, April 8th at 5 p.m.), Michael Cook did not have enough signatures to qualify under state law as a candidate for the primary ballot. So, under state law, Michael Cook is no longer a candidate. As a result, he is, by default, no longer eligible to participate in the convention process, even though he had earlier qualified as a candidate with the Party, as required by the Party bylaws, and had been granted access by the County Central Committee. 

The situation is complex, so we understand some confusion on the part of those not well-versed in the details and/or process. We were not confused. The jurisdictional lines have been clear all along, and we have functioned within those lines. We hope that those evaluating this situation from the outside can appreciate the Party’s position in carefully following both state law and our organization’s constitution and bylaws; in honoring the authority of our governing body; and in not putting our finger on the scale when we had two active, state-approved candidates. We will continue to uphold election integrity and the process set by both the lieutenant governor and, when the process is under our jurisdiction, Party rules. 

We sincerely appreciate every candidate who pledges their public support of the caucus/convention system.

We hope this has clarified some questions and concerns. As we head into our county convention and state convention, we are so grateful to both our wonderful candidates and delegates as they participate in what many consider to be the most interactive and thorough vetting process.

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