United Utah Party makes significant inroads in 2018 election
The new moderate party in the state defied expectations in its share of the vote in 2018. The United Utah Party didn’t win any elections in 2018, but several of its candidates far exceeded the typical performance by third parties.
“Tens of thousands of Utah voters cast a vote for a brand new party,” said Richard Davis, United Utah Party chair. “We’ve gone from a party that didn’t exist two years ago to a party that outperformed every other party in the state other than the Democrats and Republicans. These results show genuine momentum that will carry us to victory in 2020.”
The party faithful gathered at the Hilton Homewood Suites in Draper to watch election returns. Jim Bennett, who ran as the UUP’s first candidate in last year’s special election, echoed Davis’s sentiments.
“Eric Eliason is on track to get significantly more votes in his congressional race than I did in mine,” Bennett said. “We only had one candidate last year; this year we had 18. We will have many more in the years to come.”
Eliason’s vote totals are also significant in that they will guarantee that the United Utah Party will be on the ballot for the next two years. Utah law requires that parties get 2% of the total congressional vote to maintain ballot access, a threshold the UUP is likely to cross.
Several UUP candidates did well, exceeding 30 percent of the vote. These included State House candidates Michelle Weeks and Amy Martz and State Senate candidate Alexander Castagno. Eric Eliason is likely to get in double digits.
“There’s no question that building a political party takes time,” Davis said. “We’re already talking to a number of great potential candidates for 2020. We’re in this for the long haul.”