Exclusive: Governor tells Utah GOP leaders to stop 'bad-mouthing' each other

Governor Gary Herbert told Utah GOP leaders to stop "bad-mouthing" each other in a meeting on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — Utah's Governor Gary Herbert made a house call to state Republican Party leaders Wednesday night, with a prescription to fix what he thinks ails the party.

“What do we do to make sure we stop bad-mouthing each other?” the governor asked members of the state GOP executive committee. “There’s been too much negative comment made about fellow Republicans.”

He lamented inflammatory posts on social media, and said state Republicans had too often taken an approach in which “someone says something negative, you want to retaliate.”

His comments follow open division over intra-party politics, including the SB54 lawsuit — which challenges the direct primary path for GOP candidates to get on the primary election ballot — and little, if any, money in the Utah Republican Party's bank account.

Herbert outlined his prescription to get the party apparatus on track:

  1. Stop "bad-mouthing"
  2. Hire a full time executive director
  3. Hire an in-house lawyer
  4. Select a "parliamentarian" to oversee party rules
  5. Get back to raising money

But even as the governor pitched party unity, a GOP activist piped up on the phone, defending his use of online criticism of party activists.

“Ok, you know what, I have to say something,” he said. “When I see the party doing something I don’t like, I’m able to let people know about it.”

The activist was identified as Daryl Acumen, whom the governor said he would contact for a private conversation.

Most, if not all in the room, seemed receptive to Herbert’s recommendations.

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