Our first election is over. Our candidate won 9 percent of the vote. Is that a good showing or not so good? What is the definition of success short of winning? Party supporters will define the future. If we decide the 12,000 or so votes Jim received are a foundation for growth, then we will go ahead and work for a larger share of the vote, more supporters, and eventual victory at the polls.Read more
We are pleased that Jim Bennett crossed the threshold of the Utah Debate Commission. We expect he will be the first of many of our candidates entering those debates and articulating centrist views directed at the majority of Utah voters.
Protecting the role of religious belief in public life as well as the constitutional right to free exercise of religious expression for all.Read more
Advocating the importance of human stewardship over Utah’s environment that conserves natural resources, promotes renewable energy, and leads to clean air and water to sustain and improve human life.Read more
Preserving the free market system as the engine for future economic growth. However, such economic growth must “raise all boats” and therefore public policy must promote economic opportunity for all, regardless of social and economic class.Read more
In the fall of 2016, a small group began to talk about what to do about the dysfunctional state of politics in Utah. Some were Democrats who were unhappy with the leftward turn of a state Democratic party that did not care to appeal to the majority of Utah voters. Others were Republicans who were aghast at the rightward tilt of the Republican Party with the nomination of Donald Trump as well as the rise of the Tea Party and the arrogance of the dominant party fighting popular reforms like Count My Vote.
The group began to consider something totally new in the Utah political landscape - a political party that reached across existing party lines and favored moderation rather than extremism and pragmatism and problem-solving rather than ideology. The group began to reach out to others to discover whether there was broader interest in such an idea. The numbers of those interested in the idea grew.
By early 2017, the group was meeting weekly and planning how to organize a new party. Over the next few months, regular participants included Richard Davis, Bryson and Jan Garbett, Vaughn and Kathy Cook, Aaron Aizad, Deon Turley, Mark Russell, George Monsivias, and Bruce Lindsay. In April 2017, the group formed a political action committee - the United Utah Party - to launch a petition campaign for official registration as a new political party. The group also hired Jim Bennett as a part-time executive director to help build the new party and supervise the signature campaign.
When Representative Jason Chaffetz announced his resignation date and Governor Gary Herbert called the special election, the group already was gathering signatures to become a certified party. At that point, we decided to accelerate our signature gathering to participate in the special election. Also, Jim Bennett told us that he was considering running for the seat.
We announced the party's formation on May 22 at a press conference at the Capitol Building. We told those assembled that we would be submitting signatures by the end of the week and that we would expect to have a candidate for the special election. Jim Bennett announced his candidacy on May 25, the same day the party submitted more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.
On May 26, when Jim went to file, he was turned down by Mark Thomas, the Elections Office director. That precipitated the lawsuit to place Jim on the ballot.
The party's first convention was held in Corner Canyon High School in Draper on June 17, 2017. At the convention, delegates approved the constitution, the bylaws, and the party platform. The delegates also elected party officers. The convention then formally nominated Jim Bennett as the party's Congressional candidate. Jim was the only individual who filed for the nomination.
On June 26, the party was officially certified by the state of Utah. That allowed us to compete in the 2018 elections. We still had to sue to gain the right to compete in the Third Congressional District special election in 2017.
The United Utah Party is now official and will be a force in changing politics in Utah. Come and join us! Make the Difference!
Richard Davis commented on United Utah Party Celebrates Certification 2017-07-12 10:59:09 -0600Thank you, Arnold, for your support. I think it will take several weeks before the Elections Office makes the change. As you indicated, they are in no hurry to make us official.
Richard Davis published A call for political diversity, not conformity, within the LDS Church in Home 2017-06-30 22:37:22 -0600
Note: This article originally appeared in the Deseret News on May 12, 2017.
Editor's note: This article from scholar Richard Davis is a response to the recent reactions to Taylor G. Petrey's piece "The failures of Mormon conservativism." These opinion articles are part of an ongoing Deseret News opinion series exploring ideas and issues at the intersection of faith and thought.
Which is it? Have the predominant conservative forces in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints led church membership on a path to political failure, as Taylor Petrey suggests? Or is the church inherently conservative and therefore the calls for more progressivism essentially contrary to the basic nature of LDS doctrine?Read more
Richard Davis published The New Tea Party Activists ... the Democrats in Home 2017-06-30 22:25:12 -0600
Note: This article was originally published in the Deseret News on April 26, 2017.
Early in 2009, the tea party was formed by Republicans who were upset at the election of Barack Obama and the new Democratic majority in Congress. Tea party advocates held anti-Obama rallies and marches. They also crowded town hall meetings to question and shout at Democratic members of Congress. Also, they attacked establishment Republicans as RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) when they were not radical enough for the tea party. They began a campaign to unseat more moderate (but still conservative) Republicans who did not agree with the tea party.
The reaction from Democrats was disdain over such tactics. The tea party was extreme, outrageous and uncivil. Indeed, Democrats were ecstatic over the divisions in the Republican Party, including contested primaries and the unseating of more traditional Republican politicians.
Fast-forward to 2017. The scenario is repeating itself. The only difference is which side is doing what. The tea party advocates are in power now, including in the White House. Republicans control the Congress, including many who were tea party darlings.Read more