Correction: This article originally stated that the bylaws passed on Saturday by the Utah Republican Party might result in Mitt Romney being stripped of his party membership. In fact, the central committee amended the proposal before passing it in ways that exclude Romney in 2018. We regret the error.
In a Saturday-morning meeting outside of Salt Lake City, a hardline faction of conservative activists and agitators gathered to change the Utah Republican Party’s bylaws in a way that could have resulted in Senate candidate Mitt Romney being expelled from the state GOP and ejected from the ballot. They abandoned the effort at the last minute with a hastily written provision that spared the state’s most famous Republican, but could further imperil the already-dysfunctional state party.
Reached Monday afternoon for an interview, Rob Anderson, the chairman of the Utah Republican Party who opposed the measure, said he was working to ensure that no candidates are removed from the ballot this election cycle as a result of the bylaws. A representative for Romney’s campaign declined to comment.
Utah insiders said the episode is the latest sign of a beleaguered state party consumed by infighting over questions that will likely shape midterm primary races across the country this year: Who does the Republican Party belong to? How much ideological flexibility can be tolerated in its candidates? And must they be loyal to President Trump?