SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) – A new political party in Utah is hoping to make some noise in November.
In less than a year as a qualified political party, the United Utah Party has fielded a slate of candidates for the 2018 election.
“We have 19 candidates. And, they are running in three congressional races, one county commissioner race and 15 state house and senate races,” said party chair, Richard Davis.
On caucus night three times the number of official party members turned out, for a total of 900 participants.
“They were much larger than we expected to get. We have 300 members, so we thought maybe we would get that, but we got far, far beyond that,” said Davis.
Davis says the centrist party is seeing success, because it’s a home for both Democrats and Republicans who are turned off by the party extremes.
Chris Karpowitz, a professor of political science at BYU says Utahns are frustrated.
“On the republican side, it may have been exacerbated since the election of Donald Trump. On the democratic side, the democrats are just struggling to be competitive in the state of Utah,” Karpowitz said.
But, trying to capitalize on that as a third party is no easy task.
“Third parties do struggle, and they are likely to continue to struggle. People have attachments to the two major parties, and given our system in which the winner takes everything, it’s really hard for a third party to gain a toehold,” Karpowitz said.
The United Utah Party has its state convention on Saturday, April 28, 2018.