The Candidates for Chair of the Utah GOP

by John Mulholland

Five candidates are vying for the position of state party chair to replace Derek Brown, who isn’t running again. Candidate information can be found at https://utgop.org/candidates/


Brad Baker

Brad is a student at Weber State University studying communication and student advocacy. He wants to see the caucus system improved. There is a lot he still doesn’t know but as chair, he would use that position to sway the policy and agenda of the party. He does believe competition can motivate and improve the caucus system though. 

Brad said he would also reach out to younger voters more and increase the use of technology to decrease the burden of entry and help newer people run for office. The party should help recruit quality candidates and then mentor them through the process.

He is focused on unity and saw a lot of mudslinging from both sides during the Romney / Kennedy primary. We need to find common ground.


Tina Cannon

After asking Tina for corrections on my write-up, she demanded that I use her version. When I insisted that she only send me corrections and maybe a few suggestions she included her lawyer and threatened me. No content could be agreed upon at the time of this article. Below is what I sent her.

Tina is a tax enrolled agent and partnered with a CPA. She said that most haven’t heard of an enrolled agent and it is far more work than becoming a CPA. Tax is politics. Tina has served the party for the last 20 years as a volunteer in various positions from county party chair down to delegate. She was recently on the Morgan County council.

Tina said that there is a dangerous narrative about how men and women can’t work together in the Republican party and she is saddened by recent news stories. We need to work together. She is grateful for all the great mentors, donors, and supporters who have helped her along the way. Better decisions are made when there is diversity and more women need to step up and run.

When Tina recently ran for congress she was able to raise $150k for her campaign. She hates to waste people’s money and hopes to bring that fundraising experience to the state party. We need to get back in control of the party’s message. That will keep the state red. We need to focus on working together and put policy over personality.


Carson Jorgenson

Carson wants to run because his family has been here 150 years, raising sheep, and he wants to keep Utah on conservative principles. He has seen them change over time. Carson sees a lot of opportunities to improve the party, including cleaning up old mailing lists and using technology more. The party should have an app to help people participate in the caucus.

He pointed out how Senator Lee has a higher approval rating than Senator Romney because of the principles Lee sticks to but said it sounded inappropriate that Senator Lee, who has been threatening Facebook with antitrust action, would use his position as a Senator to pressure Mark Zuckerberg to restore some of his supporters’ groups that had been removed.

One thing that Carson thinks the party should stay away from debt. If we don’t have the money we shouldn’t do it. He said SB54 is still the biggest issue and that money buying politics is gross. Signatures might be acceptable but only if you had all volunteers.


Scott Miller

First up is Scott Miller. Scott was the Salt Lake County Party Chair for the last 2 years. Under his tenure, one of his volunteers was accused by multiple women of sexual harassment. There are conflicting accounts but the women didn’t feel it was handled well. It was eventually escalated to include the media.  Scott said he did open up a 10-day window for evidence but not much was submitted. 

When the Tribune was going to run their story, Scott said he tried to submit evidence on his behalf but they refused to take it. He doesn’t know what more he could have done. One news organization claimed that Miller was also accused of harassment. He was not.

Salt Lake County did see many Republican gains, including the 4th district and several state legislature seats.


Stewart Peay

Stewart has been the Chair of the Utah County GOP for the last 2 years. That period has been relatively drama-free. Stewart started his term with the party owing $15k and the party now has $22k in the bank. The party was able to get a much better turnout than before in District 4 and make a strong contribution to a Burgess Owens victory. Working together and gaining consensus within the party enabled that to happen.

Stewart sees the party’s biggest issue is staying united. We need to move together to have a good caucus night, hold the seats we won, and win even more state legislature seats. He appreciated both of our Senators working hard to put Utah first and help with the Secretary of the Interior’s visit. We shouldn’t focus on personas but we should focus on principles like limited government, low taxes, and a strong national defense.

Stewart said we should be streaming the convention and give people the option to vote from home instead of requiring in-person attendance when some people won’t be wearing masks. Utah County used the Voatz app for its convention. He is grateful that the current chair, Derek, has the party going in the right direction and wants to help continue keeping Utah from going purple.

 

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