Show hosts say Utah GOP discriminates against women candidates

May 24, 2022, 7:00 AM
Utah female senators walk out abortion...
All six of Utah's female state senators walked out to protest an invasive abortion ultrasound included in legislation strengthening abortion laws in Utah. Pictured from left to right are Ann Millner, Karen Mayne, Jan Iwamoto, Luz Escamilla, Deidre Henderson and Kathleen Riebe. (Photo courtesy Twitter, Utah Senate Democrats)
(Photo courtesy Twitter, Utah Senate Democrats)

SALT LAKE CITY —  The Utah Republican Party now only allows candidates who win at convention to use its valuable nonprofit-postage rate and mailing lists. Overall, in 2022, 26% (27 of 104) of Utah legislators are women, gaining one GOP seat from 2021, according to The Status of Women in Utah Politics: A 2022 Update.

The party affiliation for women legislators in Utah is now: 4 Dems and 1 Republican in the Senate; 12 Dems and 10 Republicans in the House.

KSL@Night hosts Maura Carabello and Taylor Morgan ask: Does the Utah GOP discriminate against Republican women candidates?

Utah Republican Party is mostly women

Maura said for the inexperienced candidate, a political party can provide much help. Such help can include bulk mailing, which makes a campaign less expensive to operate. A party can supply mailing lists, historical data on voting, voters who like lawn signs, training for how to communicate with undecided voters, etc.

Some 56% of all active, registered Republicans in Utah are women, Taylor cited. But in 2022, only 10.6% of state legislators were Republican women (11/104). But Democratic women now make up 20% of state legislatures around the nation, according to Deseret News

“Yet, when we talk about the caucus-convention system that chooses candidates on behalf of other Republicans, only about 25% of those delegates are women,” Taylor said. “Well, if we look at our Utah state Legislature — oh, surprise — only 25% of Utah legislators are women.”

For convention winners only, GOP resources 

Taylor added that a new Utah Republican Party rule limits all party resources to only candidates who win at convention.

“You have to win 40% or more at the state-party or the county-party convention in which you’re a candidate in order to have access to the party’s bulk mail rate. That’s a huge deal. We’re talking thousand and tens of thousands of dollars” he said.

In addition to being denied the GOP’s bulk-mailing rate, Taylor said for GOP candidates who forgo the caucus-convention route to nomination are also denied the Republican Party’s list of voters or potential supporters.

“Republicans don’t want to participate in bipartisan debates [see hyperlink below]. They’re isolating themselves more and more it appears, which is so interesting to me for the supermajority [political party],” Maura said.

‘Women stay home and take care of the kids’

Taylor said he believes the bias against women in the Utah Republican Party stems from the caucus convention.

“To be able to participate in the caucus-convention process in the Utah Republican Party, you have to attend a caucus meeting in person,” he said. “. . . If you can’t be there in person, you cannot be a party precinct officer. You cannot be a delegate.  . . What I have seen in my experience. The attitude in the party has been: Men go to caucus while the women stay home and take care of the kids.”

“I feel like we have a tradition of strong female leaders,” Maura said.

“We do,” Taylor replied.

“I feel like when I was younger, I could have identified a handful of strong female leaders across the board. And while now I can certainly still point to a handful, it’s the same ones over and over,” Maura said.

“Every single Republican woman contending for a federal office right now is being limited and discriminated against by their own party,” Taylor said.


Sen. Lee will only participate in Utah GOP-run primary debates

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Show hosts say Utah GOP discriminates against women candidates