Republican committee selects Iverson to replace Drake

ST. GEORGE – The Republican Party leadership met Monday and unanimously selected Victor Iverson to serve out the remaining six months of Washington County Commissioner Denny Drake’s term. Iverson won the party’s nomination for the seat with 67 percent of the vote. However, some feel that this move is unfair to Iverson’s General Election Democratic challenger Paul Van Dam.

“I am running against a fellow who already has a big advantage, as the Republican, in a Republican district,” Van Dam said. “This is really over the top in my book. They want to give him every possible advantage, now the advantage of incumbency. They ought to stay out of it, and keep him out of it. But I guess such is the politics in Washington County.”

When it was learned that Denny Drake was leaving to serve as a mission president for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Nick Lang, chair of the Washington County Republican Party, said the Republican Party called a Special County Central Committee meeting – made up of the chairs and vice chairs of each of the 88 precincts in Washington County that participated in the Washington County convention.

The committee unanimously chose Iverson as the name that they wanted the executive committee to put forth as the replacement, Lang said.

Utah Code Section 20A, or the Election Code, is the statute that outlines how elected office vacancies must be filled in the state of Utah, Lang said. If it is a short term vacancy – less than a year – the party in which the vacancy belongs gets to chose the interim appointment. If it’s more than that allotted time, a special election is held.

“Last night in our executive committee meeting, we read that statute word for word and made sure we followed exactly what the state law is,” Lang said. “We could not, not pick Iverson. He ran for that seat. Iverson was elected by the delegates at the Washington County Convention by 67 percent – more than two thirds the vote.”

Lang added:

The people of the party overwhelmingly selected Victor Iverson. State statute said that the party is the one – if it is on a short term basis – the party is the one to fill that short term vacancy. There is so much going on in Washington County, and the issues are so pressing, the Republican Party felt it was vital to have a full commission. With Iverson’s background in public lands, we felt that we needed him and his experience in this interim position.

Iverson said he was grateful for the opportunity to fill the vacancy.

“Washington County has always had solid and strong leadership,” Iverson said. “The current County Commission is outstanding. Commissioner Drake is a man with tremendous class, solid integrity, and I feel honored to finish the last six months of his term.”

Van Dam said:

What qualifications does he have on the county level? He is not acquainted with county government, has not been in law enforcement. I have been the Salt Lake County Attorney. For four years I dealt with the county’s problems, both civil and criminal.  This is a fellow that has no background in any of those matters or virtually anything else. Even though he has been on the federal staff, my position at the attorney general’s office gives me a real grasp on state and county relationships, and how that relates to the federal government.

“I don’t see how following the Utah state statute can be unfair,” Lang said. “We followed exactly word for word, what the statute told us to do. I don’t see how following the statute can be deemed unfair. If it is unfair then the law needs to change, but right now that is how the law is.”

Iverson said:

The state statute allows for short term vacancies of elected officials to be filled by the party of which that vacancy belongs. If Denny Drake had been a Democrat, I am sure the Democratic Party would have appointed Mr. Van Dam to fill that spot. I did not ask to fill the vacant, but I am happy to serve.

At 4 p.m., Monday, contingent upon the County Commission’s approval, Iverson will be sworn in as the interim county commissioner.

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7 Comments

  • Alvin July 1, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Just curious, who are the members of this Republican Party Leadership Committee that can select people and put them in office ?

  • Bender July 1, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    Iverson threatens to bring the stench of Mike Lee with him. I hope he took a shower when he left DC.

    • Utah Religious Tradition July 2, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      This guy is dressed like a mormon missionary. Did he just get back from a mission? Was his mission to serve Lee? Crap! We’re in trouble now!

  • Sharp July 2, 2014 at 12:11 am

    Iverson was already elected by the masses, so he is already in. Wouldn’t make sense to put a temporary in for six months. Hopefully Iverson is reasonable. He needs to focus on local issues, not national. Focus inward Mr Iverson, not outward. Spend your time protecting Washington County not Washington DC. Good luck on your new adventure, we need you to represent us.

    • Victor July 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      Thank you for your wish of good luck! You are right about the Focus needing to be Washington County and not DC. It is my opinion that a lot of the counties problems and concerns come from Washington DC and the solutions to those problems are going to be found here in Washington County.

      • Bender July 2, 2014 at 7:00 pm

        Sounds like you drank deeply from Mike Lee’s Tea Party Cool Aid Big Gulp cup Commissioner. Ragging on the federal government may gain you some points with the right wing of your party but it won’t fix the pot holes here at home. Neither will going to bat for deadbeat scofflaw ranchers who attract lunatic followers. Washington County public lands are a world class resource but not because they support a few cows and a handful of mines. There are high paying technical jobs in growth industries that would relocate here just to be situated in the middle of our year round recreational paradise. Education, infrastructure, transparent, efficient and honest governance, and attracting hi-tech jobs and tourism will grow the economy in a sustainable way and provide jobs for our kids. Pitching petty and childish Tea Party tantrums over imaginary slights make us look like hillbillies.

  • EL JEFE July 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Van Dam…..quit your whining. If you think State statue is unfair, work to change it…..or change party affiliation. Sheesh….stop your bellyaching.

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