Republican challengers for governor are crying foul because they won't be allowed to speak at the Utah County GOP convention next week while the incumbent will.
County conventions -- which are being held across the state this month -- are different from party state conventions. But candidates for state and national office often speak at them because attendees are sometimes both county and state delegates. This year, only Utah and Salt Lake counties won't be hearing from all the gubernatorial candidates at their conventions. Salt Lake Republicans will hold a dinner the night before to hear speeches.
"We're getting filtered out by the party," said Karen Martin, who manages her husband Richard's gubernatorial campaign.
Martin said that they were told by county leaders that it was in part because they didn't want to give the stage to Schanze, who is best known for his antics as computer salesman "Superdell" and his occasional run-ins with the law. Instead, they'll hear only from Gov. Gary Herbert.
"He's not even an elected governor. He's by default," Martin said of Herbert, who moved up from lieutenant governor after Jon Huntsman Jr. was chosen as ambassador to China.
County vice-chairman Mark Cluff said the county convention on April 24 is not about nominating a governor, but that delegates want to hear Herbert as a state official rather than a candidate even if it gives the appearance of imbalance.
"We understand, but we set the rules," he said of the party's executive and steering committees.
Those rules will allow all the GOP candidates for U.S. Senate speak at the convention even though they -- like gubernatorial candidates -- won't be part of the day's voting. That will focus on state legislative seats and county government positions such as commissioner and sheriff.
State party chairman Dave Hansen said he's spoken with county chairman Taylor Oldroyd but that it's the county party's decision to make. Hansen said over the years he's seen it all ways: no statewide candidates speaking, all of them speaking or a mix.