Governor to throw fundraiser for Utah GOP to help dig it out of debt

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert is throwing the Utah Republican Party a fundraiser bash in an effort to help dig it out of debt.

The Sept. 7 event, titled “Back in Black,” is also being hosted by Utah’s congressional delegation. The $100 a plate dinner is taking place at The Falls Event Center.

The event is an effort to help the Utah GOP get out of the red. At last word, the party was more than $400,000 in debt.

“The governor appreciates the leadership of chair Rob Anderson to restore financial stability, accountability and transparency. This fundraiser hosted by the governor and congressional delegation is an effort to accomplish that goal,” Derek Miller, a political advisor to the governor, wrote in a text message to FOX 13.

“Proceeds will go to party operations, not to pay for any past or ongoing costs of the legal challenge.”

The Utah GOP has sued the state over SB54, the so-called “Count My Vote” compromise that allows candidates to get on the ballot by skipping the caucus-convention system the party prefers and gathering signatures instead. A federal judge ruled against the party, allowing signature-gathering to go forward.

The bill was a compromise over “Count My Vote,” a group that sought a ballot initiative to do away with the caucus-convention system. That group could bring the ballot initiative back for the 2018 ballot.

Governor Herbert has gathered signatures to get on the ballot since SB54 became law. Most recently, 3rd Congressional District GOP candidates Tanner Ainge and John Curtis did.

After going back and forth, the Utah GOP’s central committee voted to proceed with an appeal of the lawsuit. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver is slated to hear arguments next month in the case.

The legal battle has forced the party to rack up hefty legal bills, recently-elected Utah GOP chairman Rob Anderson has said.