Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Controversies

You may have heard about the recent republican party controversies. I thought I'd list them here so that you don't think we've been ignoring them!

  1. Fab Five
  2. Delegate Email

1) Several days after the Caucus Meetings (around March 27th & 28th) past delegates started receiving invitations to an event to be held at Thanksgiving Point on April 10th. It was titled: Announcing the Return of the Fabulous Five. It was sent out from the Utah State Republican Party supporting 5 of the legislative incumbents. This is in violation of the party's bylaws 7.2. They are not suppose to show public support to any candidate that is being opposed by another Republican. Below I have listed the bylaws and articles published regarding this matter.

Party Officer Neutrality clause from the Bylaws:
7.2 PARTY OFFICER NEUTRALITY

A. State Party officers, National Committee members, and paid staff shall assist and provide, without discrimination or restriction, equal access to Party information and services within their responsibility to all Republican candidates.

B. State Party Officers, National Committee members, and paid staff shall not publicly endorse or oppose any Republican candidate for partisan public office in Utah while the candidate is opposed by another Republican candidate for the same office.


Deseret Morning News:
GOP flier raising a ruckus
Candidates accuse party of wrongly backing incumbents
By Leigh Dethman
Published: Saturday, March 29, 2008 12:41 a.m. MDT

Utah County Republican legislative candidates are fuming after the state party sent out a mailer that seems to endorse the Republican incumbents they are challenging.

The flier advertises an April 10 fundraiser for Rep. Ken Sumsion, R-American Fork, Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, and Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem. It includes a line that says, "Paid for by the Utah Republican Party," and the party's postal rate number.

Challengers fear that delegates will feel pressure to cast their vote for the incumbents, since the mailer was paid for by the party.

"They are just telling you who they want you to vote for," said Jared Sepulveda, who is running against Sumsion in District 56. "If they want to do this after the primaries are done, that's fine. But not now."

State party bylaws do not allow party officers, national committee members and paid staff to publicly endorse or oppose any Republican candidate over another in a convention or primary election.

But state GOP Chairman Stan Lockhart said "it doesn't amount to an endorsement at all."
To make things right, Lockhart said he's offered the challengers the chance to send out a mailer paid for by the party as well.

"The party works very hard to treat all Republican candidates the same," Lockhart said. "We take that very seriously."

Lisa Shepherd, who is running against Grover in District 61, said the mailer is a "direct violation of Republican rules."

"It completely looks like an official document of the party," Shepherd said. "It's against the bylaws to take a stand or play favorites or anything until you've come out of the primary."
Lockhart said the whole mess is a case of bad timing.

He said the freshman legislators came to him during the session and asked for help. However, party workers were so busy with caucus preparations that the mailing was delayed.

Lockhart said he never intended to have the mailer go out this late. It was supposed to go out before the March 17 candidate filing deadline.


KSL.com & Deseret Morning News
Challengers upset over Republican fliers
March 31st, 2008 @ 3:34pm
Tom Callan reporting

Utah County Republican challengers blast the state party for sending out a flier listing the names only of incumbents.

A flier sent out for the April 10 fundraiser at Thanksgiving Point says, "Announcing the return of the Fabulous Five." It lists Rep. Ken Sumsion, R-American Fork, Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, Rep. Chris Herrod,R-Provo, and Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem. The GOP challengers are not mentioned.

Lisa Shepherd is challenging incumbent Keith Grover in Provo. "I've gotten some communication from people who would ask me not to be a part of this and to not talk about it. I've also gotten a lot of people who said you have to stand up," Shepherd says.

She says the state party should not take sides before the primary. "My understanding is that it came from the party in trying to get this out in time before there are any challengers."

Jared Sepulveda, who is running against Sumsion in District 56, said voters who look at the mailers could be influenced to vote for the candidates who are mentioned on the ad. "They are just telling you who they want you to vote for," Sepulveda said. "If they want to do this after the primaries are done, that's fine. But not now."

KSL Newsradio left several messages for state party chairman Stan Lockhart, but he did not return the calls.

Lockhart told the Deseret Morning News yesterday the party is offering the challengers a chance to send out another mailer, which the party will pay for as well.

Lockhart said the mailer was supposed to go out before the March 17 candidate filing deadline, but by the time it was sent out, challengers were already on the ballot.


Salt Lake Tribune Article:
GOP out to rescue its superheroes
By Paul Rolly Tribune Columnist
Article Last Updated: 04/04/2008 03:45:31 AM MDT

With so many Republican incumbents in the Utah Legislature facing challenges from within their own party this year (can you say vouchers?), the attempts by the party establishment to save their own are getting a little silly.

Take the flier recently sent out by the Utah Republican Party announcing a fundraiser for five one-term GOP representatives, referred to as "The Fabulous Five."

The flier features a crude graphic of the five "fab" guys standing together in poses reminiscent of the TV series "the A-Team," although I'm not sure which one is supposed to be Mr. T.

And get this script:
"In 2007, the Utah Legislature welcomed five incredibly ingenious men to the House. Standing tall with strong conservative principles, these legislators set new standards and paved new paths toward defending and preserving freedom, liberty and justice for all."
Whoever wrote the script forgot to add "truth" and "the American Way." And why aren't they wearing capes?

In reality the five freshmen legislators - Reps. Ken Sumsion of American Fork, Keith Grover of Provo, Chris Herrod of Provo, Steve Sandstrom of Orem and Carl Wimmer of Herriman - had no stand-out legislation, but they were good at doing whatever legislative leadership told them to do.

(More powerful than a locomotive.)

Four of the five - Sumsion, Grover, Herrod and Sandstrom - are being challenged by members of their own party. Wimmer is being challenged by Dave Hogue, a former 10-year legislator who gave up his seat two years ago to run for the Senate and now is trying to reclaim it as a Democrat. The flier, as a result, has caused some flak in the GOP since party by-laws forbid party officers from taking sides in intra-party Republican races.

(Faster than a speeding bullet.)

All five dutifully followed leadership's admonition to vote for vouchers, even though Sandstrom and Grover appeared to be against vouchers until they caved to pressure from their peers.

(We'll make them an offer they can't refuse.)

The "Fabulous Five" theme in the flier seems eerily similar to gimmicks used in the past by leaders of the Utah County Republican Party.

There was the "Magnificent Seven" running for the county party's Central Committee with the flier featuring Sen. Curt Bramble, his wife and county party secretary Susan Bramble, Rep. Becky Lockhart and her husband and State Republican Party Chairman Stan Lockhart, among others.

(Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.)

And of course there was the Central Committee slate calling itself the "Reagan 17."

(Bombing begins in five minutes.)

The keynote speaker at the "Fab Five's" fundraiser, by the way, is radio talk-show host Bob Lonsberry.

(Mighty Mouse to the rescue.)


2) There has been a big todo about delegate email addresses. When I was trained to run the caucus meeting I was asked to get email addresses from caucus attendees, but more importantly I was suppose to be sure and get them for elected delegates. There was a separate paper that needed to be filled in for the delegates. I was never specifically told what they were going to use the email addresses for, but I figure if I'm going to give it out, it just might be used! I also feel if you are going to be a representative, a voice, for your neighbors then you should provide means that they can contact you and I feel like an email address is just as important as a phone number. You can read email at your own convinence and they can be written at your own convinence. This goes for the candidates that are running also. They should be able to contact you. That is what being a delegate is about. You can set up any number of free email addresses. If you don't want people bothering you, you should have one email address that you give out for things like this and one for your personal contacts.

Articles about this:

Deseret Morning News
Infighting by county GOP likely not over
By Tad Walch
Published: Saturday, April 5, 2008 12:37 a.m. MDT

Amid swirling criticism and media scrutiny Friday, the Utah County Republican Party reversed course and agreed to give all candidates the e-mail addresses of delegates to the county convention.

It was a bitter pill for the party chair and pleasantly stunned a group of Republicans who are challenging legislative incumbents from their own party. Those challengers had been complaining all week that state and county party leaders were violating rules by aiding the incumbents.

Complaints that the party machine was steamrolling challengers included allegations that state Senate Major Leader Curt Bramble's wife, who is the Utah County GOP secretary, would use inside information to favor him in his re-election bid against James O'Neal and Jackie Degaston.
Degaston said there was an inherent conflict of interest in entrusting the e-mail lists to Susie Bramble.

Sen. Bramble bristled at the suggestion Friday afternoon when I interviewed him. About an hour later, party chairwoman Marian Monnahan called me and said county leadership had changed its mind and would give the e-mail lists to all the candidates.

The flap began Wednesday night when the party met with all the Republican candidates to explain rules and plan the order of speakers at the convention later this month.

Degaston stood up and complained that some candidates had been given the e-mail addresses of the delegates who control the destiny of campaigns at the convention.

The delegates were selected last week at hundreds of neighborhood caucuses throughout Utah Valley. For about a month, those delegates control Utah's political process. Candidates woo the delegates, who then vote at the party conventions.

If a candidate earns 60 percent of the vote in a convention race, he or she becomes the party's nominee. If the vote is tighter, the top two finalists advance to a primary in June.

Monnahan had promised delegates she would keep their e-mail addresses private. At the caucus meetings, leaders declared the e-mail lists would be used only for internal party business.

That was a new policy. The party had provided delegate e-mail addresses to candidates in the past. Two longtime legislative district chairmen forgot the new rule when they got the delegate e-mail lists and handed them over to the Republican candidates in their district.

So in House District 57, incumbent Rep. Craig Frank and challengers Kim Robinson and Jennifer Baptista got the e-mail lists. The same was true for District 60, where incumbent Rep. Brad Daw is being challenged by Linda Housekeeper.

Degaston and others complained that not giving out e-mails handicapped candidates with smaller campaign treasure chests. That's a major issue for Degaston's challenge of Bramble in the senate race.

Party leadership initially argued that because all candidates in a race either had the e-mail lists or didn't, the playing field was level, but Monnahan finally decided that to be completely fair, the lists would be distributed to everyone.

"It does bother me because I gave my word to delegates," she said. "This kills me. When I say I will or won't do something, I keep to my word. I'm really having to go through some trauma here to do this."

The e-mail flap followed closely on the heels of a mailer sent by the state party that called five thus-far average freshmen legislators the Fabulous Five, four of whom are facing challenges from fellow Republicans. The mailer appeared to break state party rules against endorsing one Republican over another.

State chair Stan Lockhart said the mailer was supposed to be sent before other candidates filed and before the neighborhood caucuses. It mistakenly was sent late.

With more challenges to incumbents than are normal within the party, such infighting over the process of selecting Republican nominees probably isn't over. After all, the county convention is still exactly three weeks away.

Daily Herald:
GOP delegate e-mails released to all candidates after mix-up
by Joe Pyrah
April 5, 2008

After much ado about e-mails, county Republican Party officials have decided to release the electronic addresses of their delegates. About 1,200 delegates were recently chosen at GOP caucuses across the county. Their names, phone numbers and addresses were given to respective candidates, but their e-mails were withheld for party use only on the basis of privacy and spamming concerns.

"I realize it's partly inner-party politics and that's what I'm running against," said Jacqueline de Gaston, in an interview earlier this week. "It's just a crummy rule they shouldn't have voted for." But a handful of candidates mistakenly got e-mail addresses through their legislative chairmen and that forced the party's hand, said party chairwoman Marian Monnahan.

"It's a matter of fairness now," Monnahan said.

Such a seemingly small matter is a big deal for candidates, especially those running on a shoestring budget. For example, de Gaston said reaching all of her 199 delegates would take days by phone and cost $75 just in postage for a mailer that may be out of date by the time it reaches its target.

"You can see how campaign things change rapidly. [E-mail] is quick and easy and cheap," said de Gaston, who is facing incumbent Curt Bramble in Senate District 16.

Delegates are important because they help choose candidates for the primary or general elections. If the convention chooses a candidate by more than 60 percent, that person skips the primary and goes straight to the general election. In the case of the Republican Party, which hasn't lost a race in years, coming out of a convention without a primary challenger has meant easily winning the whole thing in November.

Candidates for state legislative seats will have access to the e-mail lists but will have to first promise to use them only for campaigning.

"They may not be used for commercial or other purposes," Monnahan said.

1 comment:

Kip Meacham said...

Again, thanks for your efforts in sharing information with your precinct. When we believe the Party to be out of line, we need to speak up because we are the Party, too.

I've blogged in great detail about much of these incidents and my involvement in trying to help remedy what I believe have been bad policy decisions at www.thewidemiddle.com.