Salt Lake City, Utah- (News4Utah) – Governor Gary Herbert says it’s time to end the divide over SB 54 in the Utah GOP, and come together.
On Tuesday, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in a 2-1 decision. Also known as the Count My Vote Compromise, the law that allows candidates to get on the primary ballot by going through convention, gathering signatures or both.
At his monthly news conference, the governor weighed in on the latest developments.
“I think it’s time for us to come together, as a Republican Party for sure, and work together. I’m kind of a Ronald Reagan Republican, I’m a big tent kind of guy. If you agree with me 80% of the time you’re my friend. And, we ought to be more inclusive and less exclusive,” said Herbert, (R) Utah.
The governor points to SB 54 as a good compromise to preserve the caucus-convention system.
He says the latest, and now third court ruling is on solid legal ground.
“Again, Senate Bill 54 has been upheld as constitutional. I think we see the writing on the wall.”
He also says a continued fight is risky, because the Utah Democratic Party has a lawsuit cued up that could disqualify the Republican Party, if they kick candidates out for gathering signatures.
“The courts have been pretty clear that if that’s the case with those who go through convention, you eliminate your qualified party status. And, those who go through convention would be kicked off, and only those who get a signature gathering process would be allowed to stay on the ballot as Republicans. Isn’t that an ironic thing?”
Members of the State Central Committee who approved the recent bylaw change to remove signature gathering candidates from the party tell News4Utah they believe the party should continue the court battle.