Thursday, March 1, 2018

Statement from Utah Republican Party Constitutional Defense Committee

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Don Guymon
for Constitutional Defense Committee - Utah Republican Party

Statement from Utah Republican Party Constitutional Defense Committee

Republican leaders clarify intent of special meeting and new bylaw language

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - Salt Lake City, UT. Don Guymon, spokesperson for the Utah Republican Party Constitutional Defense Committee (“CDC”), released the following statement to correct false information, reported in the news, regarding the purpose and outcome of the Saturday, February 24, 2018 meeting of its governing body, the State Central Committee (SCC):

The SCC meets regularly, and sometimes monthly, as needed, to address Party business, including organizing for caucuses and elections. The 2018 Caucus takes place on Tuesday, March 20. For this reason, in accordance with our rules, the SCC members called a special meeting on Saturday, February 24, to address Caucus preparation, budget issues, and bylaw modifications, including modification of an existing bylaw that has been under discussion since 2013.

State statute authorizes political parties to challenge the candidacy of any candidate who violates party rules.

Additionally, Justice Scalia in the U.S. Supreme Court decision on California Democratic Party vs. Jones stated:

In no area is the political association's right to exclude more important than in its candidate-selection process. That process often determines the party's positions on significant public policy issues, and it is the nominee who is the party's ambassador charged with winning the general electorate over to its views. The First Amendment reserves a special place, and accords a special protection, for that process...because the moment of choosing the party's nominee is the crucial juncture at which the appeal to common principles may be translated into concerted action, and hence to political power…

Since 2015, candidates have been required to certify they will not violate the party rules, but the bylaw lacked enforcement language. Under the new bylaw language, a candidate who willingly files to run, using a method contrary to Republican Party rules, temporarily forfeits membership in the Party, for the duration of the election cycle.

 These changes were made in consultation with legal counsel and in compliance with U.S. Supreme Court precedent and Utah Code Section 20A-8-401-(2a) . This Court precedent was confirmed in the Party’s recent successful constitutional challenge to election law changes, which the Utah Legislature passed in 2014 (Senate Bill 54). It is SB54 that is unconstitutional and is the subject of the current lawsuit.

If the Republican Party Executive Committee chooses to enforce this bylaw change, it does not affect any candidate already filed to run, and during the 2018 election cycle, it only applies to U.S. House Districts 1 and 2, so that no already filed candidate will be impacted.

 For more information, Contact Don Guymon