Sunday press conference, online jabs highlight GOP infighting over ‘Count My Vote’

Posted at 8:02 AM, Jan 05, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY -- An unusual Sunday news conference and a pair of online jabs are highlighting differences within the Utah Republican party over "Count My Vote."

The Utah GOP called a rare Sunday night news conference, where it announced the results of a poll it commissioned over Senate Bill 54, a compromise law over "Count My Vote." Party chairman James Evans claimed the majority of those polled supported changes to SB54, as well as the Utah GOP's lawsuit over it.

"Fifty nine percent of Utahns support the challenge, and 67-percent of Republicans support the challenge," Evans told reporters Sunday night.

See the polling results released by the Utah GOP here:

SB54 created an alternative to candidates seeking office, allowing them to gather signatures to be on a primary ballot rather than going through party caucuses and a convention vote.

“Clearly you can see that it is extraordinary for the Utah Republican Party itself to take such extraordinary measures to express difficulties it has with a bill that was passed overwhelmingly by a Republican-controlled legislature,” Evans said. “But that's the strength of our party that we can actually disagree on matters and ultimately come to a better resolution.”

Utah Lt. Governor Spencer Cox appeared to criticize the Sunday night news conference, posting on Twitter:

The Utah GOP traded jabs:

Organizers of Count My Vote were also critical of the news conference -- and the poll itself.

"You can always pay an expert to say what you want them to say," said Kirk Jowers, one of the group's co-founders, who questioned the veracity of the numbers put forward by the Utah GOP.

Jowers claimed that numerous polls showed Utahns supported Count My Vote.

Beyond the poll, Evans said that Republican party officials planned to meet with GOP lawmakers to persuade them to change their minds about a bill they passed, as well as a statewide education campaign about why it opposes Count My Vote and its compromise law.

The Utah GOP has already filed a lawsuit over SB54. Last week, it filed a motion for a preliminary injunction asking a judge to halt it from becoming law.

Read the motion for preliminary injunction here: