Bruce Lindsay had just wrapped up being a delegate at the 2016 Democratic State Convention when it dawned on him that Utah voters needed a third political option.
Lindsay, a former KSL-TV news anchor, was not a Democratic voter and “unwillingly became a delegate” since he was the only one from his precinct who showed up to the convention.
“It was not a satisfying experience,” Lindsay said. “In all of the key contested races, Democrats selected the more extreme of the candidates who had no chance of winning a Utah general election. It looked to me more like an exercise in chest-thumping than any serious strategy for ballot victory.”
After seeing that “Republicans were playing a similar but reversed game,” Lindsay helped create the United Utah Party, a third party hoping to give voice to moderate voters who are are dissatisfied both with the “leftward turn of a state Democratic party” and “rightward tilt of the Republican Party with the nomination of Donald Trump,” as the party’s website states.
“So that’s my partial confession as to why I’m here today,” Lindsay said during a keynote speech at the party’s virtual convention in April. “Neither of the two larger parties has felt like a good fit for me. They just didn’t feel like home.”
More than 3 years after the party’s official formation in May 2017, and with no candidates yet to be elected to the Utah State Legislature, more than a dozen United Utah Party members are looking to be the first candidate — or candidates — of the party to be elected to state office.
One candidate, Brian Fabbi, is running to be Utah State Auditor. Others are running for seats on the San Juan, Sanpete and Millard county commissions.
Jonia Broderick, a 4th Congressional District candidate who will compete against incumbent U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams, D-UT, and Republican candidate Burgess Owens in the November general election, stated in a description of her campaign that she “left the Republican party because they abandoned their principles” and pledged to “bring civility and decency into our discourse.”
In Utah County, there are eight UUP candidates vying for a seat in the state House or Senate.
Kate Walters, an educator who currently teaches English in a third grade immersion program, is running against incumbent Rep. Kay Christofferson, R-Lehi, to represent House District 56, while community advocate Catherine Eslinger is running against incumbent Rep. Val Peterson, R-Orem, in the HD 59 race.
Chris Rawlins, who works for a local software company, is running against Rep. Cory Maloy, R-Lehi, in HD 6, while Emily Bergeson is running in Senate District 7, which is currently represented by Republican Spanish Fork Sen. Deidre Henderson, the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor. Bergeson is competing against Rep. Mike McKell, R-Spanish Fork, who currently represents HD 66.
Other candidates running in Utah County include Joseph Shelton in HD 48, Austin Simcox in HD 63, Christine Heath in HD 60 and Nils Bergeson in HD 61.
Though each candidate has their own campaign focuses, they agree on a number of general ideologies and principles, including support and for term limits, donor limits and independent redistricting.
“Politicians who stick around too long have a hard time remaining accountable,” Lindsay said at the party convention. “Too many develop an oversized notion of their own importance and they become more concerned with holding on to power than solving problems. And I think you know who they are. Term limits are a simple way to prevent that.”
Lindsay said limits on how much money individuals can donate to political candidates would help ensure those in office “are held accountable for where they get their money and the influence it may buy.”
“Setting limits on how much support candidates can receive from an individual donor levels the playing field, and it makes candidates seek a broad base rather than just a few wealthy backers,” he said. “It increases participation.”
Lindsay emphasized the significance of this year’s election since it is a census year “and the numbers will be used to establish voting districts for democratic representation.”
“Next year, somebody is going to draw new political districts,” he said. “And the way they’re drawn will have a big impact on who gets elected for the next 10 years. They should be drawn to fairly reflect the power of each individual vote, not perpetuate the power of one political party over another.”
Voters who want to learn more about the United Utah Party and its platform can visit http://www.unitedutah.org/.