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Davis County Republican Convention: Signature gathering results in a goat rope

It is not uncommon for Republican candidates for elective office to choose a dual path to become their Party’s candidate in the November general election. They elect to go through the convention process and to also collect signatures in order to ensure that they are on the primary ballot should the convention delegates go against them. So, rather than the Davis County Republican Party convention settling things once and for all, the current process results in, to put it nicely, a goat rope.

For example, incumbent Davis County Commissioner, Randy Elliot elected to hedge his bet by taking the dual route to the ballot – convention and signatures. His opponent chose the convention only path to the ballot. When the dust settled, Elliot had 66% of the delegate vote compared to 34% for his challenger which made him the Party’s nominee.

However, under the Davis County Republican Party’s bylaws, a candidate collecting signatures requires 70% of the delegate vote in order to avoid a primary election so Elliot will be the Party’s nominee while running against fellow-Republican, Jesse A Barocio, in the Republican primary election that will determine the Republican candidate for the November general election ballot. That’s right – the Party’s nominee as determined by the delegates is not really the Party’s candidate unless he wins the primary election against the Party’s non-nominee. If the non-nominee wins the primary, then he will be the Davis County Republican Party’s candidate in the general election but not its nominee.

Meanwhile, in House District 14, incumbent Representative Karianne Lisonbee chose the dual convention/signature route. She obtained 87% of the delegate vote to her opponent’s 13% so she is the Davis County Republican Party’s nominee for House District 14. However, her opponent collected enough signatures to guarantee a spot on the primary ballot so there will be a primary election where the Party’s nominee will run against the person not chosen to be the Party’s nominee to see who will be the Party’s candidate in November.

Elsewhere, in House District 17, both the incumbent (Stewart Barlow) and his challenger (LeeAnn Wood) elected to go the convention only route. Barlow received 53% of the vote and Wood 47% so there is no Party nominee and both will be in the primary to determine who will be the Party’s nominee and candidate for the November general election. Had Barlow achieved the 60% threshold required in a convention only race he would have been the Party’s nominee as well as its candidate. At least in this race, there is not a Party nominee running against a non-nominee and whoever wins will be both the nominee and candidate.

In the convention only Country Treasurer and County Recorder races, challengers topped the incumbents in both races but not by enough to be the Party’s nominees or to avoid a primary so everyone goes to the primary where the Party’s nominees/candidates will be chosen.

So, 76% of all eligible Davis County Republican delegates took time on Saturday morning to help choose their Party’s candidates and when the dust settled no one was eliminated in a contested race and everyone advanced to the primary election either as the Party’s nominee or non-nominee to determine who will be the Party’s nominee/candidate or non-nominee/candidate—or whatever—in their respective races in November. What a goat rope!

Ronald Mortensen

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