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The disastrous Utah Republican primary

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The bid for former Representative Jason Chaffetz’s congressional seat has been a chaotic mess from the outset. And John Curtis’s victory on Tuesday proves the disaster maintained pace right up to the finish line.

The troubles started when Rep. Chaffetz, who had just been reelected in 2016 to his fifth term representing my native Utah 3rd District, announced in April that he would not be running for reelection in 2018. Never satisfied with his own statements, Chaffetz returned a month later on May 18th to inform the district that he would be resigning from office at the end of June.

This shell game was embarrassingly reminiscent of Chaffetz’s approach to the 2016 presidential election: endorsing Donald Trump early on; condemning Trump after the “Access Hollywood” tapes and saying he wouldn’t be able to look his wife and teenage daughter in the eye if he voted for such a man; then doubling back with what he insists was not an endorsement, essentially saying, “I’m voting for Trump, and here’s why you should too,” which by any reasonable metric is the epitome of an endorsement. Unfortunately, the events since then have roughly followed the same pattern.

The Utah Republican Party held a convention in June to determine its candidate based on a caucus of GOP delegates. Former state legislator and true conservative Chris Herrod pulled out a win after a five-round run-off, beating out 10 other candidates, including eventual primary winner John Curtis, who had a fairly dismal showing at the convention. But the delegates had spoken and Herrod was on his way, right? Nope.

In 2016, the Utah state legislature passed the controversial and unarguably unconstitutional SB-54, in which state government gave itself authority to force political parties — private organizations — to nominate candidates as the state sees fit. According to the bill, the onus of selecting a political candidate shouldn’t fall to measly delegates — party devotees, nominated by their peers, known for their political activity and dedication. Instead, candidates can sidestep the caucus altogether and gather signatures to gain ballot access, resulting in this year’s three-way primary between Republican nominee Chris Herrod, Provo Mayor John Curtis, and newcomer “my dad is famous” Tanner Ainge. Curtis had declared his intention of running in the primary via signatures regardless of the results of the convention, and Ainge didn’t even compete for the party’s nomination.

Herrod, the only proven conservative in the race, was endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz, who attested to Herrod’s loyalty to four key conservative issues: “having principled constitutionalists on the U.S. Supreme Court, repealing Obamacare, taking on regulatory reform, and tax reform.”

Somehow, despite losing the party nomination, John Curtis was still able to collect endorsements from 23 Utah mayors and sitting Governor Gary Herbert — as if there weren’t enough evidence that the state government resents the caucus/convention system. And have I mentioned that Curtis has not even been a Republican for very long? He readily admits that he formerly ran for office as a Democrat but couldn’t receive the party’s full support because of his pro-life stance. In every other way, however, Curtis falls in line with the Democrats.

As mayor of a town largely populated by socialist college students and professors (believe me, I just left it), Curtis enacted and encouraged one unconstitutional effort after another, resulting in a statist city government. One website has compiled Provo laws and ordinances constituting government overreach with extensive references and links to the actual legislation. Here are some examples:

  • It is illegal to fire a weapon outside of approved gun ranges, not even in self-defense.
  • It is illegal to house more than three non-relatives.
  • It is illegal to rent house space to strangers, stifling Airbnb endeavors.
  • It is illegal to have two sinks in your kitchen.
  • It is illegal to protest anything, anywhere, in any way without the city’s prior approval.
  • It is illegal to peacefully protest in public facilities, as one 80-year-old woman discovered when she was thrown out of the city rec center.

Curtis, while lacking authority to raise taxes as mayor, backed the council’s tax increases 43 times. His most famous “accomplishment” is an inefficient public busing service, BRT, that hardly anybody likes or uses. It limps along at Curtis’s insistence and taxpayers’ expense.

One of Curtis’s campaign staffers, a good friend of mine, told me at the convention, “John’s a conservative, whatever that means.” Um, no. You don’t just get to claim to be a conservative if A) it’s not true and B) you don’t even know what it means. For the sake of accuracy, I decided to ask John about it himself. He said he’s a conservative because he knows how to get the job done. I decided against pointing out to him that that’s not even close to the actual definition of conservatism. I asked him how willing he would be to defy the GOP or even what’s most efficient in order to preserve the Constitution, and he said he was very willing to go against the party — those Democratic roots shining through. I pressed again on the Constitution, and he insisted that he knew how to get things done efficiently, that he was committed to always choosing efficiency over party. Only after two or three more prods did he concede, “Sure, the Constitution’s very important.” He then moved on to another question. John Curtis is NOT a conservative, and he’s hesitant to even endorse the Constitution.

We may never know exactly what went wrong. A few weeks before the election — a closed primary — the state illegally sent out 68,000 Republican primary ballots to unaffiliated voters. Upon acknowledging the error, rather than recall the ballots, the state encouraged unaffiliated voters (largely moderates) to register as Republicans in order to vote. Several moderate-to-left activist groups called for the same, occasionally endorsing Curtis in the process as the “moderate candidate.” As we’ve already seen, Curtis is not even right-wing enough to be considered a moderate, and 68,000 illegal ballots in a race with fewer than 45,000 counted votes can certainly swing an election.

There’s too much uncertainty and apparent malfeasance to sift through, but to quote the great Luke Skywalker, “I only know one truth:” the Republican Party in Utah is in shambles, and it’s falling to the Left as it goes.

Utah, formerly one of the most reliably red states, is swinging. The Beehive State was divided during the 2016 election, but that was largely in reaction to Trump, not pushback against conservative ideals. This election is different. One of most historically conservative states has rallied tooth and nail behind a politician with openly socialist policies. Utah almost certainly won’t elect a Democratic candidate, so we’re most likely stuck with another congressman who is, at best, “a conservative, whatever that means.”

Kind of makes you wish the Federalist Party would start up in Utah, am I right?

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards, Co-Host of The New Guards Podcast, lifelong fan of the Anaheim Ducks, and proud Hufflepuff. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in English from Brigham Young University in 2017. One day later, his wife gave birth to a beautiful daughter. Richie is a constitutional conservative and doesn't see any compassion in violating other people's rights.

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PRIDE: Portland renames major street after pederast, cult defender

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In 2016, the U.S. Navy named a ship after the late politician, Harvey Milk. In 2009, President Obama posthumously bequeathed Milk with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Now, city officials in Portland, Oregon, have voted to rename a 13-block section of one of the city’s major streets, Southwest Stark Street, after Harvey Milk, the first open homosexual to serve on the San Francisco, CA, Board of Supervisors. Milk was murdered in 1978, by a fellow democratic Board of Supervisors member.

Harvey Milk was also a serial pederast. As his friend and biographer, Randy Shilts, wrote:

“Harvey always had a penchant for young waifs with substance abuse problems.”

Milk was also a defender the now infamous Marxist cult leader Jim Jones. As Daniel J. Flynn wrote at City Journal in 2009, in a piece entitled, “Drinking Harvey Milk’s Kool-Aid”:

Nine days prior to Milk’s death, more than 900 followers of Jim Jones — many of them campaign workers for Milk — perished in the most ghastly set of murder-suicides in modern history. Before the congregants of the Peoples Temple drank Jim Jones’s deadly Kool-Aid, Harvey Milk and much of San Francisco’s ruling class had already figuratively imbibed. Milk occasionally spoke at Jones’s San Francisco-based headquarters, promoted Jones through his newspaper columns, and defended the Peoples Temple from its growing legion of critics. Jones provided conscripted “volunteers” for Milk’s campaigns to distribute leaflets by the tens of thousands. Milk returned the favor by abusing his position of public trust on behalf of Jones’s criminal endeavors.

“Rev. Jones is widely known in the minority communities here and elsewhere as a man of the highest character, who has undertaken constructive remedies for social problems which have been amazing in their scope and effectiveness,” Supervisor Milk wrote President Jimmy Carter seven months before the Jonestown carnage. The purpose of Milk’s letter was to aid and abet his powerful supporter’s abduction of a six-year-old boy. Milk’s missive to the president prophetically continued: “Not only is the life of a child at stake, who currently has loving and protective parents in the Rev. and Mrs. Jones, but our official relations with Guyana could stand to be jeopardized, to the potentially great embarrassment of our State Department.” John Stoen, the boy whose actual parents Milk libeled to the president as purveyors of “bold-faced lies” and blackmail attempts, perished at Jonestown. This, the only remarkable episode in Milk’s brief tenure on the San Francisco board of supervisors, is swept under the rug by his hagiographers.

Along with Stoen, 275 other children also perished that day in Jonestown.

Portland’s Southwest Stark Street is at the center of the largely LGBTQ Burnside Triangle neighborhood.

According to an article at LGBTQNation.com, “this change symbolizes the districts history as well as the legacy of Harvey Milk.”

Portland Mayor, Ted Wheeler, prior to the vote, spoke about the importance of this name change, saying that it “sends a signal that we are an open and a welcoming and an inclusive community.”

Portland now joins several other cities, including San Diego and Salt Lake City, which have honored Harvey Milk.

My Take:

Those on the right side of the aisle are regularly accused of vilifying the LGBTQ community. Oddly enough, it’s the most vociferous activists on the left – specifically, it’s those who select, uplift, and honor “heroes” like the sexual predator Harvey Milk – who do the most damage to the image of the LGBTQ community, along with the ideologues who simply go along with it.

What could the right possibly do to harm the image of the LGBT community which the radical activists haven’t already inflicted themselves? I can’t think of anything. Can you?

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Oklahoma Primary

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Oklahoma is one of the more Conservative states in this country. The GOP has a stranglehold and the Democrats are on life support. This election cycle boast an opportunity to expand and maintain on the state’s decent Conservative record. Oklahoma has better incumbents than most red states, measuring by fiscal and social conservatism. The most exciting race in Oklahoma is the 1st District where Jim Bridenstine is leaving the seat.

Best Picks: Andy Coleman, Nathan Dahm, James Taylor
Worst Picks: Kevin Herns, Tom Cole
Best Race: District 1
Worst Race: District  3

District 1

There is a plethora of Conservative endorsements in this race. They are split between Andy Coleman and Nathan Dahm. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan both favor Coleman who appears poised to be the newest inductee to the Freedom Caucus. Rand Paul, the Republican Liberty Caucus, and Thomas Massie are coming out in support of Nathan Dahm. Dahm has a more libertarian styled campaign and platform. Coleman boasts a strong military and legal background while also having a history of supporting persecuted Christians in the Middle East through Voice of the Martyrs. Nathan Dahm is likely less formidable.

The worst candidate in this race has the most funding. Kevin Herns is the businessman insider posing as an outsider. This race has big shoes to fill and he is least likely to fill them. Herns also is lying about his support from Jim Bridenstine, the current Rep. who is vacating the seat to head NASA. Bridenstine responded to this deception.

Ideally, Coleman and Dahm advance to the runoff. Realistically Herns is poised for the next round, so Conservatives will have to combine the vote. But of course this assumes that Herns’s funding has him ahead.

Conservative Pick: Andy Coleman

District 2

Markwayne Mullin is a decent Congressman, but not so much as to dismiss his opponents. His most serious threat is John McCarthy. There is nothing that really separates the two other than McCarthy’s populist style campaign language. He emphasizes keeping his word, but being an outsider, he doesn’t have a track record. Mullin isn’t a RINO nor has he been in the House for too long.

Conservative Pick: Markwayne Mullin

District 3

Frank Lucas is an unchallenged RINO.

District 4

Tom Cole is another incumbent RINO. He is being challenged by James Taylor. This man understands John Locke. He is a Conservative and with the low threshold of Cole to beat, he is the clear choice in this race.

Conservative Pick: James Taylor

District 5

Steve Russell has gotten more Conservative as time passes which is the opposite of many Republicans. He is challenged but faces no serious contender.

Conservative Pick: Steve Russell

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for Utah Primary

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Conservatism is under assault in Utah. Leading the assault is Mitt Romney, the carpetbagging fipflopper using his Mormon status to target a vacant seat in Utah. The Senate is finally rid of Orin Hatch. RINOs Jeff Flake and John McCain’s days are numbered and there are some solid Conservatives advancing to November in easier to win seats. But Conservatives in the Senate will face their newest opponent in Mitt Romney. Romeny will, no doubt, be a vocal vote. He is campaigning on “calling them as he sees it,” which is fine if you have a Conservative worldview. But this is Mitt Romney. He is the author of Obamacare’s framework. He ran one of the worst campaigns in modern history in 2012. He’s the first reason we have Trump. Should Romney win he will vote as any establishment player would: from the left of Trump.

Conservatism in Utah is at a critical point and will have to overcome celebrity politics. The convention tried and failed. It’s now up to the electorate.

Best Pick: Mike Kennedy, Chris Herrod
Worst Pick: Mitt Romney
Best Race: District 3
Worst Race: US Senate

US Senate

There literally could not be a worse candidate than Mitt Romney. He’s a rich carpetbagger riding the Salt Lake City Olympics, which shouldn’t matter. Mike Kennedy is the only chance for Conservatives in this race.

Conservative Pick: Mike Kennedy

District 1

Ron Bishop is unopposed. He’s a mediocre career politician.

District 2

Chris Stewart is decent and unopposed.

District 3

John Curtis is opposed after a single term that was the result of a special election. He hasn’t seen enough action to prove a RINO. In fact, he may be fiscally responsible. He voted against Omnibus. His opponent is Chris Herrod. Herrod is running as a fiscal hawk. What is unique about him is the depth of principle he comes with. His opposition to spending and socialized medicine along with his support for individual freedoms make him a more ideal Conservative and less likely to disappoint in the future than Curtis.

Conservative Pick: Chris Herrod

District 4

Mia Love went to DC with much fanfare and high expectations. So far she has been a huge disappointment boasting an F Liberty Score. She is unopposed.

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