Salt Lake County Republican Party cleaning up after scandal

Apr 21, 2021, 4:11 PM
Salt Lake County Republican Party shake-up...
Scott Miller, then vice chairman of the Salt Lake County Republican Party, addresses the media in 2016. He resigned his post as chairman amid controversy over allegations of bullying. (Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)
(Photo: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Republican Party Chairman Scott Miller resigned on March 28 after seven women in the party leveled sexual harassment allegations against one of his unnamed volunteers. Now his successor is taking steps to clean up that scandal and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Read the story background:

Salt Lake County GOP accepts chairman’s resignation after allegations within party

Scandal be gone

Elected the new chairman earlier this month, Chris Null joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to talk about how the county party will handle accusations and allegations in the future.

“Is there an ongoing investigation [about the allegations]?” Debbie asked.

“I’ve talked to the women. We’ve discussed what it is they’re looking for at this point. They want us to find a way forward to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” Null said. “The failure really was all of this rested on one person to make a decision on how to respond.”

Next steps for the Salt Lake County Republican Party

Null said he wouldn’t comment on whether Miller’s actions regarding the allegations were right or wrong.

“I think we all pretty much agree that it didn’t work out the way it should have,” Null conceded. 

 The new chairman said the county has created an ethics advisory committee to address any complaints going forward as a group — not as a single person.

” . . . Unfortunately, what happened in the past was one person was really making a decision that should have been handled by a committee. They could have done probably a better job together.”

Null said the ethics advisory committee will review complaints and make recommendations to the executive committee, which will then take action as needed.

“In some cases, maybe, that’ll be a statement; other cases, maybe, we’ll just have to remove people from positions,” the chairman said.

Restoring party reputation

“How do you resurrect the reputation of the Salt Lake County GOP, Chris, regarding women, because it’s already tough enough to get women and convince women to run for any sort of political position? How do you turn that around?” Debbie asked.

Null said interacting with different stakeholders is his plan.

“We engage the women. We engage with these organizations, these women’s organizations. I mean, it’s not just women, right? There’s the minorities. There’s the Young Republicans. They’re the next generation. We really have to engage all of them, and that’s my plan.

“. . .  I have four older sisters, I have two daughters, I absolutely respect women. And I think as a party, we need to make sure we continue to do that,” he said.

More space to disagree in the Republican Party

“We’ve been so polarized politically for so long, especially with President Trump. It seemed like you were either in his camp or not in his camp; it became very polarized. Is there a path forward to become more of a coalition-building party versus if you don’t align in a certain group, then you’re not with us?” Dave asked.

“We really do hold the same conservative principles. It’s how we decide to disagree when we have different paths towards those principles,” Null said. “I think we can do a better job. I’m gonna make sure that our executive committee keeps in mind that we can have different opinions.

“We can disagree, but we also got to remember that the end goal is is to promote our conservative principles, whether that be right to life or Second Amendment or individual liberties. Those are all the things that we really love, and we need to continue to pursue. So yeah, I want to unify as a party. And I want to unify around those principles,” Null said.

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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Salt Lake County Republican Party cleaning up after scandal