(KCPW News) The Salt Lake County Republican Party will decide today whether to effectively eliminate primary elections, and instead let the party’s delegates have the authority to decide which candidates will represent the party in a general election. This concerns Bluffdale City Councilwoman Nancy Lord, who is on the county GOP’s executive and central committees. She worries that eliminating primaries would weaken the Republican Party.
“The rules of the game are everything. And I think it’s a very bad idea to send a message to the electorate that we don’t want you making the decision anymore,” Lord says. “That is just foolish of a party in a county that has been bleeding away from red towards blue for years now. ”
The proposal would lower the threshold candidates must reach to win at the county convention. Currently, 60 percent of the delegates at the county convention must support a candidate in order to avoid a primary. This proposal would reduce that to a simple majority of 50 percent, plus one vote.
Salt Lake County Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright says those who favor the proposal believe it would save candidates money they’ll need to effectively run against Democrats in the general election.
“We’ve had a couple elections that have been pretty tough on us and we see now that we have an opportunity to turn the tide and take back seats,” Wright says. “And we want to, I think there’s members that want to, make sure that we’re as well positioned as possible to do that.”
However, Lord says that campaigning builds a strong base of support for the winning nominee that carries over into the general election.