Utah Democratic Party Chair Jeff Merchant Wins Re-Election
Utah delegates re-elected Jeff Merchant, a small business owner, for a second term as head of the state’s Democratic Party Saturday. He won with more than two-thirds of the vote.
During his campaign, Merchant touted his success in getting the party out of debt and hiring additional staff members. After winning re-election, he vowed to build on that foundation he created.
Merchant said Utah is on its way to turning bluer like nearby states have, too.
“The Republican Party, they're scared,” he said. “It's time for us to move upwards and onwards as a united party to build on the foundation of the past two years to an even stronger future.”
He emphasized unity and leaning into what he called shared democratic values like fairness, empathy, justice and democracy.
Merchant also called on the delegates who did not vote for him to work with him.
“Utah Democrats must stop our internal divisions and we have to move forward with one voice, one banner and one objective,” he said. “We are small, but we're a rapidly growing family.”
His challenger, former Utah County Democratic Party Chair Daniel Hicken, said he would have focused on grassroots organizing to mobilize Democratic voters and rebranding the party to win over Republicans and independents.
“We need to remind people, like I tell my candidates here in Utah County, remind them of what's important,” Hicken said during a debate Thursday. “That you want roads that are taken care of. You want good schools. You want all of these things that we all believe in. Drive home the point that just because the national dialog says something, doesn't mean it's what we really embody.”
Delegates also elected Diane Lewis as the new vice chair and Jill Fellow as the new secretary. Sheila Srivastava won re-election as treasurer.