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Utah GOP chairman announces he won't seek re-election

Published March 29, 2013 10:59 am

Politics • Thomas Wright says he wants to spend more time with family.
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Utah Republican Party Chairman Thomas Wright announced Thursday that he will not seek re-election to the post in May.

In an email, Wright thanked members of the party for their support in what, outside of raising his family, he said was the most rewarding experience of his life.

The party will pick a new chairman at its state convention May 18. Wright said he was making his announcement now so others would have time to campaign.

"I am looking forward to spending evenings doing homework and Saturday mornings making waffles for my wife and four kids," Wright said.

He also said that he plans to spend more time with his real estate brokerage firm, which has offices in Utah, Nevada, California and Colorado.

During his tenure, the party saw a dramatic spike in caucus turnout, with more than 125,000 people attending the 2012 neighborhood meetings. The GOP dominance of the Utah Legislature increased to its largest margin in decades, and Wright said the party raised a record $4 million.

The party fell just short of ousting Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson in 2012, one of Wright's major goals for his tenure.

In his remaining months, Wright has said he will continue to put forward proposals to reform the party's caucus system, which has come under fire for placing too much power in the hands of a few thousand delegates.

Critics are exploring a possible initiative effort to let voters decide if candidates should have an alternative path to get on the primary ballot, which they say would increase voter participation.






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