Kurt Weiland, who had vied as a Democratic for the 1st District U.S. House post, and Kevin Probasco, who ran as a Republican, are now backing the third-party hopeful in his bid to upend Rep. Rob Bishop, the eight-term GOP incumbent.
“These endorsements match what we are seeing from voters across the board,” Eliason, an investment group partner and adjunct Utah State University professor from Logan, said in a statement Monday. “Our campaign is supported by Republicans, Democrats and independents. The very essence of what is wrong with politics today is that parties determine what and who candidates and representatives should support.”
The newly formed United Utah Party touts itself as an alternative to the Democratic and Republican parties, backing the search for “practical solutions rather than continuing partisan gridlock and pushing extreme agendas.”
In a Facebook post, Weiland, a Bountiful businessman, noted he’s a lifelong Democrat, but said country “comes before party.” Weiland lost to Lee Castillo in the June Democratic primary for the post in a contest that had grown heated between the two at times, and now Castillo is the Democratic standard-bearer in the Nov. 6 election.
Eliason “is strong, intelligent, articulate and honest,” Weiland said. “No other candidate for the 1st District seat has these qualities. He is our only option to restore dignity and decency to leadership.”
Probasco, a Layton lawyer, had sought a place on the GOP primary ballot last June via petition, but didn’t garner enough signatures and his candidacy fizzled.
“This wasn’t a hard decision to make,” Probasco said in a statement released by the Eliason campaign. “Eric is the person we need in Congress right now in order to cut through the partisan gridlock.”
Though coming from different parties, Eliason, Weiland and Probasco have been united in criticizing Bishop, the incumbent. Eliason and Weiland have both criticized Bishop for what they view as his tepid response to some of President Donald Trump’s more controversial pronouncements, while Weiland has also accused the incumbent of not engaging enough with constituents. Probasco, during the campaign, expressed concern with what he said was the divisive tone coming from federal lawmakers, including Trump and Bishop.
Bishop, from Brigham City, has touted his focus on public lands issues and in checking federal power in his reelection bid. Castillo, a social worker from Layton, has put a focus on being a voice for everybody. Adam Davis of the Green Party is also running for the seat, which covers Weber, Box Elder and Cache counties, northern Davis County and other portions of northern and northeastern Utah.