About Us

State Party Leadership Team

State Party Chair

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State Party Chair
James Evans
Email: james@utgop.org
Phone: 801.533.9777

Executive Director

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Executive Director
Julian Babbitt
Email: jbabbitt@utgop.org
Phone: 801.533.9777

Vice Chairman

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Vice Chairman

State Party Vice Chair
Willie Billings
Email: willie@utgop.org
Phone: 801.533.9777

State Party Secretary

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State Party Secretary
Michelle Mumford
Email: michelle@utgop.org
Phone: 801.533.9777

State Party Treasurer

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State Party Treasurer
Cameron Robinson
Email: cameron@utgop.org
Phone: 801.533.9777

History of the Utah Republican Party

As Utah politics was reorganized after the Woodruff Manifesto, and a Republican as well as a Democratic party emerged statewide, many assumed that the traditional ties of various LDS Church leaders to the Democratic philosophy would make Utah a strong Democratic state. This view was strengthened in the minds of many because of Republican party opposition to polygamy. However, events would prove this assessment inadequate. In 1894 Republican Frank J. Cannon was elected Utah`s delegate in Congress, and the Republicans dominated the state constitutional convention by a forty-seven to thirteen count over the Democrats. Despite some Democratic success, after 1900 Utah Republicans would become strong, and in some areas even dominant.

The early twentieth century was characterized by the rise of Mormon apostle and U.S. Senator Reed Smoot to political power; and his political alliance of Mormons and Gentiles led to a strengthened Republican party. During these same years, a number of LDS Church leaders, including John Henry Smith, Joseph F. Smith, Francis M. Lyman, and others would actively seek to tie the church to the Republican banner. By 1912 the GOP (Grand Old Party as the Republicans were nicknamed) was sufficiently strong to secure the state`s votes for William Howard Taft, Utah being one of only two states to support the incumbent president`s bid for reelection against Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.

Republican party influence was challenged in 1904 when former Republican senator Thomas Kearns assisted in organizing the American party. Opposing LDS Church influence in political and economic areas and assisted in their efforts by Kearns` Salt Lake Tribune, the American party achieved a measure of success and for a period dominated Salt Lake City and Ogden City government. However, the strength of the Smoot machine ultimately would lead to the demise of the American party.

The deaths of Joseph F. Smith and Thomas Kearns, the defeat of Representative Joseph Howell in 1916, and the emergence of a new post-war generation in both the Republican and Democratic parties ushered in a period of political changes. The period between the wars saw a sort of balance in Utah politics between the two major parties. During the 1920s, the strength of the Republican party was centered in Salt Lake, Weber, Davis, and Utah counties, and the party was influenced by a semi-secret faction known as the "Order of Seven," which gained its name because the original seven members were charged with recruiting seven more, who in turn would recruit seven, and so on until they successfully dominated the party and controlled the state political system. In part, the Order of Sevens represented an attempt on the part of non-Mormon Republicans to play a larger role in party matters. Built on patronage, the Order of Sevens was particularly important in the defeat of incumbent governor Charles Mabey in 1924. Splits within the party in the election of 1928 led to the ultimate destruction of the organization, though some of the original members of the group still had clout within the party as late as 1948. Some historians have seen the Sevens as the closest thing to a political machine in Utah history.

During the 1930s, the Republican party suffered several major defeats in Utah. Reed Smoot was defeated by Elbert D. Thomas in 1932. That same year, Franklin Roosevelt proved to be very popular among Beehive State voters, carrying the state and bringing local Democrats to power with him. In every national election from 1932 to 1948, the Democratic party`s appeal continued.

In the years immediately following World War II, Republicans in Utah, following national patterns, reasserted themselves. Arthur V. Watkins, a Republican moderate, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1946. Other important Republican figures in the post-war period included Ezra Taft Benson, Secretary of Agriculture under Dwight Eisenhower, and Congressmen William A. Dawson, Henry Aldous Dixon, and Douglas Stringfellow. The latter--considered an up-and-coming party leader, who even attracted national attention--was forced to resign when it became known that he had contrived a heroic war record.

From 1948 until 1964 the dominant figure in the state Republican party was conservative and controversial J. Bracken Lee. After unsuccessful races for governor and Congress in the early 1940s, Lee, who served six terms as mayor of Price, in 1948 defeated incumbent Herbert Maw for the governor`s chair. Four years later, Lee handily defeated his Democratic opponent, Earl J. Glade. In 1956 Lee was denied renomination for a third term and ran as an independent. Despite drawing some 94,000 votes, more than 28 percent of the vote cast, Lee did not prevent Republican George D. Clyde from retaining the governorship for the GOP.

Clyde, who had been a Democratic party state delegate in 1954, was reelected in 1960 in a come-from-behind victory over Democrat William Barlocker. After his defeat in the 1956 election, Lee continued to be a recurring presence in state politics. In 1958, again running as an independent, Lee drew enough votes to provide the margin of defeat for incumbent Republican Senator Arthur V. Watkins in his race against Democrat Frank E. Moss. Watkins, who had served as senator since 1946, had angered many conservatives, Lee among them, for his role in chairing the committee that censured Senator Joseph R. McCarthy. After his 1958 defeat, Lee entered a second phase of political activity with his election in 1959 as mayor of Salt Lake City. Always controversial, Lee nonetheless was reelected in 1963 and 1967. Though he briefly sought the Republican nomination for governor in 1964, Lee was not a major factor in his party`s affairs. His outspoken conservative views, especially his opposition to the income tax, gained him a national audience. In 1956 he was the vice-presidential nominee of the Conservative party of Texas. Four years later, the Conservative party of New Jersey put Lee on the ballot in that state as a candidate for president.

In the 1950s other Republicans emerged, including Wallace F. Bennett, who defeated incumbent U.S. Senator Elbert D. Thomas in 1950. Bennett, who would serve in the Senate until he retired in 1974, was known as a fiscal conservative and supporter of national defense.

Conservatives dominated the Utah GOP in the 1960s. In 1964 the extremely popular Barry Goldwater was the choice of a majority of Utah delegates to the party convention in San Francisco. That same year, Ernest L. Wilkinson, the conservative president of Brigham Young University, was nominated for the U.S. Senate. Wilkinson`s nomination came after the result of a bitter primary struggle with Congressman Sherman P. Lloyd. The bitter party battle led to a period of division within the party between its conservative and moderate elements that would be a factor in party contests for at least a decade. Despite these internal disagreements, the Republicans won a major victory in local and congressional races in 1966. Two years later, although local conservatives were behind the candidacy of California Governor Ronald Reagan, Utah Republicans were early and strong supporters of Richard Nixon.

Nixon attempted to influence the state`s senatorial contest in 1970, being firmly behind the candidacy of Representative Laurence Burton against incumbent Democratic Senator Ted Moss. Though Moss defeated Burton, the Republicans began a period of growing strength which was in part related to a conservative resurgence in national politics. As the Equal Rights Amendment emerged as a controversial issue, and as the LDS Church increased its effort to defeat the amendment, Utah Republicans had increasing success in arguing that the Democratic party in the state was out of touch with the views of its more conservative citizenry. In 1974 Salt Lake Mayor Jake Garn defeated Democratic Representative Wayne Owens for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Wallace Bennett.

From 1974 until 1986 no major office in Utah changed from Republican to Democratic hands. During those same years, Republicans dominated the Utah congressional delegation as well as both houses of the state legislature. Two years later, a little-known Salt Lake lawyer, Orrin G. Hatch, emerged from a crowded field as the party nominee for U.S. Senate. After defeating Senator Ted Moss, a leading Democratic liberal, Hatch became a major figure in the emerging conservative movement of the 1980s and was frequently mentioned by local Republicans as a possible candidate for higher office. That same year, Republicans also regained the Second Congressional District seat when Dan Marriott defeated incumbent Democratic Representative Allen Howe, who was convicted of soliciting sex from a police decoy.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Utah stayed firmly in the national Republican orbit, and GOP presidential candidates would carry the state by large majorities in each election from 1968 through 1988. In fact, Utah gave the highest plurality of any state to presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan, the latter proving to be immensely popular among Utah Republicans. In 1988 incumbent Republican Governor Norman Bangerter was reelected in a come-from-behind victory over highly favored Democratic challenger Ted Wilson, former mayor of Salt Lake City. Despite the reelection of Wayne Owens to Congress in 1990, and the upset election of Bill Orton in Utah`s Third Congressional District, Republicans were still the dominant party in the state`s politics entering into the last decade of the twentieth century.

John Sillito

History of the Republican Party

The Republican Party was born in the early 1850`s by anti-slavery activists and individuals who believed that government should grant western lands to settlers free of charge. The first informal meeting of the party took place in Ripon, Wisconsin, a small town northwest of Milwaukee. The first official Republican meeting took place on July 6th, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. The name "Republican" was chosen because it alluded to equality and reminded individuals of Thomas Jefferson`s Democratic-Republican Party. At the Jackson convention, the new party adopted a platform and nominated candidates for office in Michigan.

In 1856, the Republicans became a national party when John C. Fremont was nominated for President under the slogan: "Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men, Fremont." Even though they were considered a "third party" because the Democrats and Whigs represented the two-party system at the time, Fremont received 33% of the vote. Four years later, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican to win the White House.

The Civil War erupted in 1861 and lasted four grueling years. During the war, against the advice of his cabinet, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves. The Republicans of the day worked to pass the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery, the Fourteenth, which guaranteed equal protection under the laws, and the Fifteenth, which helped secure voting rights for African-Americans.

The Republican Party also played a leading role in securing women the right to vote. In 1896, Republicans were the first major party to favor women`s suffrage. When the 19th Amendment finally was added to the Constitution, 26 of 36 state legislatures that had voted to ratify it were under Republican control. The first woman elected to Congress was a Republican, Jeanette Rankin from Montana in 1917.

Presidents during most of the late nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century were Republicans. The White House was in Republican hands under Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush. Under the last two, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the United States became the world`s only superpower, winning the Cold War from the old Soviet Union and releasing millions from Communist oppression.

Behind all the elected officials and the candidates of any political party are thousands of hard-working staff and volunteers who raise money, lick the envelopes, and make the phone calls that every winning campaign must have. The national structure of our party starts with the Republican National Committee. Each state has its own Republican State Committee with a Chairman and staff. The Republican structure goes right down to the neighborhoods, where a Republican precinct captain every Election Day organizes Republican workers to get out the vote.

Most states ask voters when they register to express party preference. Voters don`t have to do so, but registration lists let the parties know exactly which voters they want to be sure vote on Election Day. Just because voters register as a Republican, they don`t need to vote that way - many voters split their tickets, voting for candidates in both parties. But the national party is made up of all registered Republicans in all 50 states. They are the heart and soul of the party. Republicans have a long and rich history with basic principles: Individuals, not government, can make the best decisions; all people are entitled to equal rights; and decisions are best made close to home.

The symbol of the Republican Party is the elephant. During the mid term elections way back in 1874, Democrats tried to scare voters into thinking President Grant would seek to run for an unprecedented third term. Thomas Nast, a cartoonist for Harper`s Weekly, depicted a Democratic jackass trying to scare a Republican elephant - and both symbols stuck. For a long time Republicans have been known as the "G.O.P." And party faithfuls thought it meant the "Grand Old Party." But apparently the original meaning (in 1875) was "gallant old party." And when automobiles were invented it also came to mean, "get out and push." That`s still a pretty good slogan for Republicans who depend every campaign year on the hard work of hundreds of thousands of volunteers to get out and vote and push people to support the causes of the Republican Party.

Party Bylaws

Utah Republican Party Bylaws


1.0 GENERAL COMMITTEE ORGANIZATION

A. Binding Business. No elected or appointed committee described in Article VI of the Party Constitution shall conduct binding business unless a quorum is present. A quorum is a majority of the members of the committee. If a quorum is present, then additional committee members may participate by teleconference or videoconference, according to procedures established by that committee.

B. Removal. Members of elected or appointed committees described in Article VI of the Party Constitution may be removed by a 60% vote of a quorum of the State Central Committee.

C. The State Party Executive Director and the State Party General Counsel shall be ex-officio, nonvoting members of all party committees, except the Audit Committee.

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Party Platform

Utah Republican Party State Party Platform

(as ratified at the 2009 State Convention)

PREAMBLE

We, the Republican Party of the Great State of Utah, affirm our belief in God and declare our support for government based upon a moral and spiritual foundation. We affirm freedom for every individual as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and protected by the Constitution. We believe that citizens' needs are best met through free enterprise, private initiative, and volunteerism. We support the "Rule of Law" and believe in upholding the law of the land.

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Utah Republican Party Constitution

Utah Republican Party Constitution

2013 Official Version

PREAMBLE

We, as members of the Utah Republican Party, grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, desiring to perpetuate principles of free government and the blessings of liberty to our posterity, do establish and adopt this Constitution. This Constitution, the Party Bylaws, and Robert’s Rules of Order Current Edition are the exclusive governing rules of the Utah Republican Party.

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RNC Rules

The Rules of the Republican Party

As Adopted by the 2008 Republican National Convention September 1, 2008

PREAMBLE

BE IT RESOLVED, That the Republican Party is the party of the open door. Ours is the party of liberty, the party of equality, of opportunity for all, and favoritism for none

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Election Code 1994

PROCEDURES FOR SELECTION OF PARTY CANDIDATES FOR PARTY CAUCUSES AND CONVENTIONS

(1) (a) Each registered political party shall call a party caucus of citizens in each voting precinct to be held at 7 p.m. on the last Monday in March in each year in which a regular general election is to be held.

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