Posted By Eric Ethington on September 1, 2010
SLC, UT – BREAKING NEWS. The time limit expired last night on Ben McAdams’ Republican opponent Nancy Davis to file her disclosures and she was forced out of the race. In these unlikely circumstances, the Republican Party is allowed to nominate their own candidate to automatically run without going through the delegate system. You won’t believe who they picked.
Of all people… Melvin Nimer, the President of the Utah Log Cabin Republicans and board member of the Utah Pride Center.
Mel has built a reputation as a hard-core conservative in this state, but also as someone who has tried to build bridges with current elected Republicans like Governor Herbert and slowly persuade them to support LGBT rights.
“The Party called me at 10am this morning,” says Nimer, “after accepting their nomination I had to have all my paperwork submitted by early this afternoon to make it official.” So why Mel? Why would the Utah Republicans nominate a gay man? “Well I think it’s precisely because I’m gay,” said Nimer, “we’ve made a lot of inroads over the years with the party and helped them get many important people elected and this may be the Party’s way of slowly moving [onto the side of equality].”
For his part, Ben McAdams told PRIDEinUtah that although he still fully intends to keep the Senate chair he took over from Scott McCoy, he’s glad to see the Republicans putting out a gay candidate. “I think that both through my election and Mel’s nomination, we’ve signified that LGBT issues are much more mainstream then many in Utah would believe” he says.
But the fight is on.
McAdams stated that “I’m still the best person in the Senate working on LGBT issues, I have the track record through both last year’s session and the SLC non-discrimination ordinances that I can get the job done.” At the same time, Nimer says that he could do it better, “I’d be as fierce of an LGBT advocate in the Senate as Ben or Scott [McCoy] ever were. There’s a big difference between LGBT issues and other aspects of conservatism.”
Equality Utah’s endorsement period ended months ago, and they’re endorsing Ben McAdams. “Ben is an extraordinary Senator, and we stand behind him” says Executive Director Brandie Balken. Equality Utah’s endorsement policy states they cannot endorse two candidates for one race. This means there isn’t a chance for Mel Nimer to receive an official endorsement from the biggest name in Utah LGBT politics.
And of course, the LGBT community at large tends to swing heavily democratic. Will this hurt Nimer’s chances? “I don’t know if the LGBT community will support me, but I don’t think I’ll get much resistance,” he says.
District 2 has a long proud history of constantly voting for the democrats, but Mel hopes to change that. “There’s a lot of registered republicans who don’t vote, so we’ll have to see what we can do.”
Personally, I think this is a simple way for the Republican Party to throw Mel Nimer and the Utah Log Cabin Republicans under the bus. With 2 months until the election, and with all of the qualified candidates they could have picked from, the Repub’s decided to throw the gay head of a gay political group into a race against the biggest ally the State has in the Senate? With virtually no time to raise funds or to get a campaign off the ground..
Sounds very….. Republican to me.
For The Record: PRIDEinUtah has and continues to strongly support and endorse Senator Ben McAdams.
Copy of Nimer’s Declaration to run: