This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah County GOP leaders seem to have a strange set of values.
If you want to run for public office as a Republican and you don't fill out a five-page fitness evaluation form to prove you are a "true" Republican, you are not entitled to the list of delegates you need before the county convention on Saturday. That happened to Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, for delaying to fill out the form.
You can, however, have bankruptcies, tax liens, assault charges and a theft conviction on your record and still be certified as a legitimate candidate as long as you promise to be a good Republican.
In the case of Henderson's GOP opponent, who received the delegate list with the blessing of party brass, you can renounce your U.S. citizenship and still be a good Republican.
Nathan Hepler, of Payson, is Henderson's opponent this year in state Senate District 7. Unlike Henderson, who had trouble getting the delegate list, he has had no problems with GOP leadership.
Hepler has had misdemeanor charges filed against him, including a misdemeanor assault charge, in the past several years. The cases have been resolved through plea-in-abeyance agreements in which he has pleaded no contest, then had the charges dismissed after six months.
But the most colorful thing in his past is a declaration he filed with the Utah County recorder's office in 2011 in which he claimed he was not subject to county property taxes because he was not a citizen subject to the laws of the United States, the state of Utah and Utah County.
He was a citizen of the kingdom of God.
That was his response to tax liens placed on his property for his failure to pay those taxes.
To the county's GOP leadership, this guy is good to go.
Several Republican candidates have expressed their skepticism about the party's rules, as interpreted by county GOP Chairman Craig Frank, but most have filled out the fitness forms and met with the star chamber committee to avoid party sanctions, including ouster.
Holly Richardson, a former state legislator who is running in northern Utah County's Senate District 14, filled out the form but checked "no" on the box that asked if she would pledge to never vote for a non-Republican.
She said she would not vote for Donald Trump if he were the GOP presidential nominee and is not sure if that will result in party sanctions.
The irony is that if 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney lived in Utah County, he would be unfit to be a Republican candidate under the interpretation of the rules because he, too, has said he wouldn't vote for Trump.
One of Richardson's rivals for that Senate seat is Morgan Philpot, a former state representative and congressional candidate. He also has had tax liens imposed against him from the Utah Tax Commission. But he's a pure Republican so he passes the purity test.