Utahns seek to change candidate nomination process
A group of Republican Party notables has filed an initiative seeking to change the way Utah political parties nominate their candidates. The initiative would allow candidates to put their names on primary election ballots by either winning a vote at a party convention or by petitioning their way onto the ballot, but would mandate that a party’s nominee be chosen at the primary election.
Long-term incumbents have in recent years faced difficult re-nomination battles at party conventions, where party activists tend to have more sway. Back in 2010, then incumbent U.S. Sen. Robert Bennett was defeated for his own party’s nomination. Proponents of this new initiative want candidates chosen, instead, through primary elections, where public support often trumps internal party activists.
“Essentially, there are two main objectives across the board with this group: One is we want to increase voter participation and [second] involve more people in who is on the ballot. Those are the most important things,” said Jeremy Roberts, a former Utah county official.
If more than 100,000 voter signatures are gathered on petitions, the initiative would be voted on in 2014 and would take effect in 2016.