Why would the Utah Republican Party decided to elect their presidential nominee in their caucus, rather than go with the primary election system? What is the difference between Utah Republican Presidential Primary vs. Republican Presidential Caucus?
On Saturday, March 7th 2015 the Utah Republican Party State Central Committee (SCC) met for their quarterly meeting. (The SCC is made up of locally elected party members from across the state. They are the governing body of the state party.) One of the things that was voted on during the meeting was the need to either have the legislature move their 2016 primary election date or to combine the presidential nominee election with their biennial caucuses in order to comply with our national party rules.
The SCC decided to go with the presidential party nominee election in their caucus for a few different reasons:
1.) It is difficult to have to rely on the state legislature to move the state primary election to comply with GOP national party rules.
2.) The GOP would like their registered party members to be the ones to vote on their Republican nominee. (In 2014 the state legislature voted to force the Republican party to have OPEN primary elections for their state and local elections, which allows non-Republicans to vote on who the Republican nominees will be in those elections. When people who don’t support the party platform are voting on the party’s nominees, the party could end up with nominees who do not support their platform.)
3.) The cost for selecting the party’s presidential nominee will be covered by the GOP and not by public funding, therefore relieving taxpayers the burden of paying for a primary presidential election for the GOP. This also gives the GOP freedom to elect their nominee, without the legislature interfering in the process. (Like the legislature did in 2014 with SB54–which they claim they have the right to do, because of public funding of the state and local primary elections. Note: SB54 doesn’t allow the party the option to fund their own state and local nominee elections to bypass this “law”, but the “law” did not include the presidential nominee election.)
4.) They believe this will increase attendance to their 2016 caucus, giving Republicans who have not been involved previously an opportunity to see how their caucus system works.
5.) They also believe that this will make it less likely that Utah will continue to be a “fly over state” and Utah will be more likely to have some interaction with the GOP presidential candidates.
By doing the state Republican Party Presidential Nominee Election in the caucus, it will make the state party compliant with the national party, save the taxpayers the cost of running the party’s presidential primary, allow Republicans to vote on their own nominee without outside interference, boost caucus attendance, and create more potential for gaining attention from the GOP presidential candidates.