GOP group raises $70K in effort to overhaul Utah caucus system

Jul 28 2013 - 8:51am


SALT LAKE CITY -- A group of Republicans behind an initiative petition to overhaul how Utah selects its candidates for office has reported raising $70,000 so far in their effort to get it on the 2014 ballot.

Leaders of the Count My Vote drive say they've received donations of $25,000 each from venture capitalist Dinesh Patel and life sciences investor Gary Crocker.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports the group also garnered donations of $10,000 each from Omar Kader, who owns a Middle East consulting firm, and Bruce Bastian, a founder of Word Perfect.

Bastian has given heavily to Democratic candidates and gay rights causes, while Kader has donated thousands to Democrats. The bulk of donations from Crocker and Patel have gone to Republicans.

The group, organized by former Gov. Mike Leavitt, seeks to increase voter participation by moving away from Utah's current caucus system, which allows delegates selected at neighborhood meetings to nominate most candidates at a state convention.

Supporters have expressed concern that delegates represent the fringes of both parties and candidates tend to cater to the extremes as a result.

The group plans to raise at least $1.5 million.


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