Saturday, April 6, 2013

Thoughts on the Utah Neighborhood Elections Caucus System

We need to make sure the Utah neighborhood election caucus system is set up so it could be done in 2 hrs. and we get the election results, not just back to the county and state, but to those that missed it so they can still contribute and let their elected delegates and precinct leaders know what they think. The person that got a babysitter for 2 hrs to attend their neighborhood caucus should be able to vote

We need to coordinate with college and university campuses in Utah to make sure students know where a caucus meeting is, and Utah residents can register to attend and participate. Perhaps we should increase the number of locations the neighborhood caucuses are on college and university campuses. We can add another hundred thousand new caucus attendees in 2014.

The most anger I saw at our caucus was there were 4 that walked out after they realized the 6 people running for 2 state delegate spots were all Sen. Hatch Supporters. They weren't the typical, "I will vet the candidates and pick the best one and also listen to your comments" type people. My precinct had been stacked. These 4 people had come for the first time and felt like someone in office for 36 years was already too long. I assured them I wasn't going to be voting for Sen. Hatch as my first or 2nd choice. He was my 3rd choice. It made them feel better.

The current system does work. I spent a year trying to get a candidate elected running against Bob Bennett and we got Mike Lee. He has done better than I expected. He was my 3rd or 4th choice. He was almost eliminated at convention because his campaign team didn't go for the 2nd or 3rd choice vote. Tim Bridgewater did. He knew he wasn't my first choice, but was willing to accept my 2nd choice vote. When my candidate lost, I went with Tim Bridgewater. There was very few Eagar, Bridgewater or Bennett 2nd choice votes that went or would have gone to Mike Lee. That is why Tim Bridgewater received almost 60% of the delegate vote. 

It was during the Primary Election that Mike Lee was selected to be the Republican Party Nominee even though Tim Bridgewater was endorsed by Sen. Bennett. 

During a mid term selection for the Utah State House of Representatives, I won against the West Valley City Mayor's mom in West Valley for a special caucus on the 2nd vote. She was ahead on the 1st round. There is no way I would have won against her in a primary. If I had had 8.5 people change their mind per precinct this last year, I would have won against another incumbent that had 30 plus years of West Valley politics and elected offices. It is hard to beat an incumbent. We shouldn't make it harder by raising the primary avoiding threshold to 70% or more.

The 60% primary avoiding threshold has worked well. If we adjust it at all, it should be kept as close to the current number as possible.  Raising it to 2/3 would have created a primary in 2012 for Gary Herbert, and Chris Stewart. It would have made sure Sen. Hatch didn't buy himself out of at Primary. He didn't succeed, even with $5 Million and large bonuses to his paid staff on the line.

Many think rising the threshold could be good, but you have to remember that Jason Chaffetz almost hit 60% when running against Chris Cannon. He still won in the primary election. Since then in Utah, we have had good candidates willing to run against incumbents. That is a good thing. We do not want to destroy that because of a threat by a powerful lobbyist group.

"A system that provides inherent advantages to those who are incumbent, wealthy or famous is not acceptable." One principle we all can support.