A bill that could throw a party candidates’ nomination back to delegates passed the Utah House Monday night, but its future in the Senate is unclear. Fifteen GOP House members who voted for the SB54 compromise bill last year went against the wishes of the Count My Vote leaders and supported an amended HB313. The bill passed 39-34, with two House members absent from the vote. In the meantime, UtahPolicy is told by Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans that he would be willing to accept even further amendments to HB313 to make it more acceptable to legislators. Evans met with GOP senators Tuesday afternoon in a closed caucus. (The Senate Republicans always hold closed caucuses.)
After that meeting Evans said the party would accept some king of “trigger” that would allow even a primary candidate who got under 40 percent of the primary vote to become the party’s nominee without having to go back before delegates.
Evans explained it like this: Let’s say that some GOP candidate, in a multi-candidate primary, got 39 or 37 percent of the vote.
However, the next candidate closest to that first-place finisher only got 25 percent of the vote. If HB313 were changed to say the top two vote-getters went back to the delegates ONLY if the second-place finisher was within 10 percentage points of first place, then in the above instance the 37 percent finisher would be the primary winner, and the party delegates wouldn’t get a chance to pick the nominee.