(KCPW News) The Salt Lake County Republican Party will start the process Saturday to replace County Councilman Jeff Allen, who’s stepping down with one year left in his term. County GOP Chairman Thomas Wright says the party will select three potential replacements for the council to decide from, as required by law. He says earlier rumors that the party only plans to choose one nominee are inaccurate.
“There have been a lot of people involved in the party that have made assumptions that we may do that, and as chairman, I can tell you that from the very beginning our intention was to abide by the state law, however screwy it is, to send three replacement nominee names to the council,” Wright says.
Salt Lake County Council Chairman Joe Hatch, a Democrat, said in a meeting on Tuesday that he understood the Republican Party wanted to submit only a single name, which would ultimately give the GOP more control over who replaces Allen on the Democratic-controlled council. But Wright says the party never told him that.
With only one year left in Allen’s term, Wright says he’s instructed the party’s central committee to think ahead when they cast their votes on Saturday.
“We have encouraged our members to really take it seriously and view this as a person that could potentially be running and will be running as an incumbent in 2010,” Wright says. “We’re not going to take anything for granted in Salt Lake County. It has been Democratic. We are the minority party. This is the most Republican council seat there is, but we’re not taking it for granted.”
The county GOP’s central committee meets Saturday morning in Sandy to vote for the nominees. There are at least six candidates so far, and Wright says others may decide to seek the nomination. Allen’s District Five council seat represents southern Salt Lake County.