Thomas Wright, former Salt Lake County Party Chair was elected to the State Chair position with 84% of the voteBy: Ricky Hatch
Cold and clear came Saturday morning, a sunny setting for a spirited State Central Committee
meeting. Even though over 2 months have lapsed since the general election, it felt a bit like deja vu as I walked into the SLCC Miller Campus
y, with tables and a few small banners touting candidates running for leadership of the state GOP
, at least until the organizing convention in June.
Yes, Dave Hansen, the State Party Chair, resigned. Vice Chair Kitty Dunn, and Secretary Christy Achziger, resigned as well. No, this was not a coup or some massive abdication due to the great success of the GOP
in November. Mr. Hansen resigned because he is going to work on Senator Orrin Hatch's campaign (Senator Hatch officially announced last week that he is running
Now I'm no big GO
P insider guy, but I try to go to all of the meetings, to be prepared, to participate, to evaluate, to vote, and to report all of it in a way that doesn't cure insomnia. What I've seen from Dave Hansen, I've liked. Sure, he's stitched to a long-standing Senator, but I thought he did a good job. I like the results of November's elections, which he influenced for good. I like how he ran the meetings. I really like his informal, no-nonsense, catchy and witty writing style. I also like that he didn't dip into any partially-populated hot tubs, or discover that he actually lives outside of Utah
So the SCC
had to elect Mr. Hansen's replacement, and a Vice Chair and Secretary as well. It's kind of a big deal, because, as Christy Achziger put it, the next few months mark the busy season for the state party, mostly spent preparing for the Organizing Convention in June, where 3,500 delegates will elect party leadership for the next two years. These are the same 3,500 delegates who ousted Senator Bennett last May, so I'd recommend coming to this convention. Bring a notepad, because it should be really interesting.
78% of the 180 SC
C members showed up, which is very strong attendance for this statewide group. There were a lot of big names there. Fred Lampropoulos opened the front door for me. I almost waved to Orrin Hatch. I talked with Morgan Philpot, shook hands with Rob Bishop, and saw Mark Shurtleff's broad shoulders and Jason Chaffetz's pearly-whites. National Committeeman Bruce Hough and National Committeewoman Enid Greene sat across the aisle from me in the audience. And, of course, our good Governor Herbert was there. That man believes in being involved in the party—he always attends. Most notably, but understandably absent was Mike Lee. Actually, he might have been there and I couldn't see him, because I'm only 5'8” (try being me and standing next to 6'2” Orrin Hatch, or Bob Bennett for that matter, who wasn't at the meeting, but who was the tallest standing Senator at 6'6”).
After the pledge, a respectful prayer, and thankfully brief thank-you comments from the outgoing leadership, we got right to the elections.
The candidates for Chair were Carlos Tavares, Dave Duncan, Thomas Wright and James O'Neal.
One candidate spent 3 ½ of his 4 minutes reading a book about a tiger (I'm not joking), one candidate was actually nominated by another candidate, and one candidate had endorsements from pretty much every elected official still breathing. The results can be found here:
But the young-looking and clean-shaven (from neck to crown) Thomas Wright, the Salt Lake County Party Chair was elected with 84% of the vote. While there may be cries of insidership, I was impressed at the things Mr. Wright did for the SL Party, including taking 3 elected seats from the Democrats, raising over $400K for candidates, and providing candidate training. These are the fundamental duties of a state party chair. See his pic and other info on Facebook
. For an article he wrote about the benefits of our Caucus system (which I think is a great system), see this:
The candidates for Vice Chair were Ben Smith, who talked about party unity and settling the automatic delegate debate once and for all, and Christy Achziger, who talked about hard work and the upcoming busy season, as mentioned above. Mrs. Achziger won with 85% of the vote.
The Secretary position pitted Lowell Nelson, who gave quite a compelling speech, in my opinion, against Dana Dickson, who gave the wittiest quote of the day, “The air is full of speeches and vice versa.” Mr. Dickson received 77% of the vote.
I had to leave at this point for a family event, but others from our Weber County
contingent told me that all of the proposed resolutions and amendments failed.
Next up: the State Organizing Convention on June 11
at the South Towne Expo Center
. It will be warmer outside and hotter inside, I'm sure!
Labels: State Central Committee