Utah Democrats pick new party chair


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah- (ABC4 News) – Democratic delegates from across the state gathered in Park City to pick party leadership and take care of other business.

The big agenda item was a vote on who will lead the party as chair.

This comes as Utah Democrats hope to ride some momentum from 2018 heading into 2020.

Before the election for leadership, New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland addressed delegates saying they have an opportunity to do big things.

“We have to make sure we hold the majority in the House, we must take back the Senate and win the White House in 2020,” said Haaland, D- New Mexico.

Part of that is choosing who will lead the party for the next two years.

Four candidates wanted that job, and challenger Jeff Merchant easily came out on top with 77% of the vote in the first round.

“Absolutely, the number one priority is making sure that we actually have a plan. We haven’t had a plan in a while and it’s time to make something happen,” said Merchant.

He takes over for Daisy Thomas who was hoping for another term.

Delegates decided otherwise as the party has faced struggles with debt, harassment allegations and infighting.

Merchant says it’s a new day for Utah Democrats, and he’s promising to pick up more seats.

“The way we are going to do that is by raising money the right way, by using that money the right way, and by supporting people the right way. All things that haven’t been happening,” said Merchant.

Out of a potential 2327 credentialed delegates, 514 showed up to participate in the convention.

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. 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...