Utah Republican Party chair not seeking re-election

Posted at 8:30 PM, Mar 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-28 22:30:27-04

SALT LAKE CITY – The chairman of the Utah Republican Party has announced that he will not seek re-election.

Thomas Wright made the announcement on Thursday, and a letter was posted to the Utah Republican Party’s Facebook page.

The full text of that letter follows:

Dear Fellow Republicans,

I want you to be among the first to know that I will not seek re-election as party chairman. Serving as the volunteer chairman of the Utah Republican Party has been one of the greatest honors in my life. It has been more rewarding than anything I have done, outside of raising my family. Thank you for this opportunity.

This is a decision I’ve been considering for several months. I have decided to publicly announce it at this time so that there is sufficient time for prospective candidates to consider running and to campaign to the state delegates before our organizing convention on May 18th.

It is time for me to take a break from full-time politics for two main reasons.

First, I am looking forward to spending evenings doing homework and Saturday mornings making waffles with my wife and four kids. They have been so remarkably supportive of me as I have come home late, talked politics on the phone all evening, left early in the morning and traveled around this beautiful state meeting with Republicans. It will be wonderful to reunite with them and make up for lost time. They are my primary motivation to serve.

Second, as the president of a real estate company, I am looking forward to giving my all to my employees and partners as the real estate market picks up. One of the great principles of the Republican Party is its support and belief in the free enterprise system. As my own career has evolved from selling real estate as an agent to being an owner of a real estate brokerage with offices in Utah, Nevada, California and Colorado, it is time for me to return full-time to the private sector. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to deal with the day-to-day challenges of running a small business in this great country of ours.

The Utah Republican Party has an exciting few years ahead as we begin to look at ways to strengthen and promote the caucus, convention and primary system in Utah. I will assist the Party and its leaders in anyway I can as the Party moves forward in the 21st Century.

During my time as chairman, we have accomplished many great things:

In 2010, as Salt Lake County GOP Chairman, Republicans took three state House seats and one state Senate seat from the Democrats.

That same year (2010), we reclaimed the Salt Lake County Council from Democrat control by turning a 7 to1 Democrat vote-by-mail advantage into a 4 to 1 Republican advantage. It was the largest grassroots voter registration drive the state has ever seen…and it worked!

In March of 2012, we had a record turnout at our important caucus meetings with over 125,000 people attending, more than double any previous year.

We put on an amazing state convention in 2012, and we were proud to introduce the very successful debut of electronic voting. That process saved our valued state delegates many hours of time and brought the convention experience into the 21st century.
A personal highlight was in August of 2012, leading the Utah delegation to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, where we cast all of Utah’s votes for Utah’s favorite adopted son, Mitt Romney.

Later that year, in the general election, we increased the Republican foothold in the Utah Legislature by winning another state Senate seat and two more state House seats, including the only seat held by a Democrat outside of Salt Lake County.

Because of our 2012 gains in both houses of the Utah Legislature, the Legislature is now over 81 percent Republican (the second most Republican the Legislature has ever been). And very significantly, our great Governor Gary Herbert won in all 29 counties across Utah. That is rarely, if ever, done.
During the past four years, we have implemented plans that increased Republican voter registration by seven percent.
We have raised a record amount of money at $4 million, putting our Republican Party on sound financial ground.

Together we have also successfully pushed common-sense legislation for ethics and election reform. While some of those bills are not well known, they have made participation in elections easier, public buildings more accessible, election recounts more logical and our elected officials more accountable.

These accomplishments are significant, and I am proud of each one of them. Most gratifying is that we have achieved these things by working together. It has been amazing to see, first-hand, the dedication of countless volunteers who have chosen to get involved in the political process. They care so deeply about our state and country. It has been a true honor to work with so many talented, generous and patriotic people throughout the state of Utah. I am proud to be a Republican, and I firmly believe in the principles for which our party stands. Our party certainly faces present and future challenges, but we will confront and examine each of these challenges based on a firm belief in the fundamental values preserved in our United States Constitution. It is because of these principles and values that I’m confident that whomever the next chairman may be, it will be a person of integrity and courage, carefully chosen by the state delegates at our organizing convention in May.

Thank you for making these accomplishments happen. I have continually been amazed by a world-class staff, tireless volunteers, generous donors and committed elected officials. I will cherish the many friends I have made all across the state and look forward to working with you again.

Thomas Wright
Chairman, Utah Republican Party