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Taylorsville • In what was described as a "Kumbaya" meeting Saturday, the bickering factions of the state Republican Party put aside their differences and took steps to ensure that the party will be able to have its candidates on the ballot in 2016.

"You have made the statement loud and clearly: We can still do the business of the party," said James Evans, chairman of the party. "We rose above the other concerns to say we're doing the business of the organization."

The party's State Central Committee ­— sort of the board of directors of the party — met Saturday at Taylorsville's City Hall and voted to comply with the new system for nominating candidates set up in Senate Bill 54.

Under the new rules, the Republican Party will file as a Qualified Political Party, meaning Republican candidates can either go through the traditional party convention to try to win the nomination, or gather enough signatures to try to get a spot on the primary election ballot.

The committee also voted to require candidates to file a disclosure, affirming their support of the party platform and itemizing what pieces of the platform they disagree with in order to qualify as a Republican candidate.

The party will continue to pursue its lawsuit against the state seeking to overturn SB54.

After meeting for nearly an hour in a session closed to the press so they could discuss the legal strategy, the committee passed the new bylaws and constitution changes with little discussion.

Gone was the animosity that had pitted Republicans against each other in recent months. Gov. Gary Herbert referred to the infighting as a "civil war" in the ranks and urged the committee members to move toward resolution so candidates ­— like Herbert — can be assured of a spot on the ballot.

Republican National Committeewoman Enid Mickelsen disagreed with Herbert's characterization.

"I think this term civil war has been overused. I didn't see any bayonets or cannons," Mickelsen said. Instead, she called it "our little family crisis."

"What we can do today is sing 'Kumbaya,' recognize where we are, come to a good decision how to move forward," Mickelsen said.

The family vote came after more than a year of fighting the new nominating system enacted through SB54, which the Utah Legislature passed last year as a compromise between lawmakers and leaders of Count My Vote — an organization that had sought to ditch the traditional caucus-convention system in favor of nominating candidates through primary elections.

The party contended in court that the dual-track system put in place by SB54 denied the party the ability to control who its candidates are. But Evans acknowledged that the party has to move forward with adopting the changes to comply with SB54 so it can be prepared for the 2016 elections.

"We applaud the Utah Republican Party State Central Committee for voting to comply with SB54 and become a Qualified Political Party," said Taylor Morgan, executive director of Count My Vote. "This decision will help foster greater participation in Utah elections."

Count My Vote argued that the previous convention system vested too much power in the hands of delegates, disenfranchised average voters, and produced candidates whose views didn't reflect those of the mainstream Utahn.

The amendments adopted Saturday sill have to be approved by a majority of the party's delegates at the state convention in August.

If the delegates reject the changes or the party is unable to change its rules by September, it remains possible that the state's dominant political force will not have its candidates on the ballot in 2016.

Evans said he believes the delegates will ratify the changes, although there is likely to still be "Monday morning quarterbacking" on social media from "keyboard warriors."

"I think Facebook is a tool of the devil, right along with Twitter," Evans said.

Evans also announced he will seek re-election as chairman of the party and that former party chairman Thomas Wright will take over as the party's finance chairman.

Twitter: @RobertGehrke