Utah’s GOP heading in a new direction under new leader

Top Stories

SANDY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – Republicans from all corners of the state traveled to Sandy, Utah for the state convention on Saturday.

It’s not a big election year, but there’s still business to take care of. One of the big items of business was an election for party chair.

Delegates voted for change, going with former Davis County Chair Rob Anderson.

“Humbling, excited and it’s a daunting, a daunting task I think I have in front of me. I’ve got a lot of work to do, so let’ roll up the sleeves and get ready to go,” said Anderson, new Utah GOP Chair.

Anderson sold delegates on getting the party out of debt, and bringing back members who have recently left the party.

He says the party is $400,000 in debt, and has lost 36,000 members. 

He also blamed current leadership for the legal fight over Senate Bill 54.

“I think the chances of the lawsuit succeeding, versus the cost we’ve incurred is probably the wrong direction to go, it is the wrong direction to go. We need to go back to our legislature, who is overwhelmingly majority republican, and we need to work this them and get some fixes that are acceptable to the party,” said Anderson.

He beat out incumbent chair James Evans, who was seeking a third term, and current Vice Chair Phil Wright. 

Evans stand by his four year record, and accepts the will of the party.

“What I’m most proud of is we were able to have a presidential caucus, we ended the status of Utah being a flyover state, and that we increased our numbers in the legislature and in particular winning Congressional District 4,” said Evans.

Delegates also voted on a resolution to support medical marijuana. It drew a lot of interest as delegates lined up to argue for and against the proposal.

It failed in overwhelming fashion, on a vote of 70% to 30%. Advocates say all Utahns will soon have the chance to weigh in through a ballot initiative. 

“If anything, today’s vote unfortunately shows that the critics of the caucus system may be right, maybe the delegates are out of touch with their party more broadly, and with the public. So, I think if you look at how polling is going, Utahns are ready for this, and they will soon be having the chance to vote on it themselves,” said Connor Boyack, with the Libertas Institute. 

Delegates from the 3rd Congressional District will get together again next month to select a nominee to replace Representative Jason Chaffetz.

The special caucus is set for June 17, 2017 at Timpview High School. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Utah VP Debate

More Utah Debate
Inside Utah Politics Logo

Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...