Gov. Gary Herbert wished aloud Thursday that the Utah Republican Party would drop its lawsuit challenging the state’s new election law, which is driving a wedge between the party’s right wing and moderates. But he concedes that maneuvering by conservatives has probably successfully forced party leaders to proceed against his wishes — and their own. When asked at his monthly KUED news conference if the GOP should drop the lawsuit, Herbert said, “They would be wise to do that.” The suit challenges SB54, which allows candidates to qualify for a primary election by collecting signatures and/or the traditional caucus-convention system.
Many Republican convention delegates hate the law because it reduces their power. Moderates argue the old caucus-convention system gave the right wing, which dominates it, too much power to nominate candidates outside the political mainstream.
Despite his wish the lawsuit appeal would be dropped, Herbert said conservatives likely have boxed in new GOP Chairman Rob Anderson in a way that forces him to proceed with appeals, even though Anderson personally opposes the suit and says he has the power to drop the lawsuit.