As former Congressman Bill Orton seeks to be re-elected to his position as a Democratic National Committeeman, a fellow party member is questioning his suitability for the job.
Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake City, has said that Orton’s support for Republican friend Joe Jarvis, who ran against McCoy in 2006, indicates that he isn’t willing to get behind fellow Democrats seeking office.
“Because Bill Orton endorsed my Republican opponent in my Senate race, I don't think he deserves to be our Democratic National Committeeman any longer,” McCoy said in an email sent to several state delegates. “On this, I hope you will agree too.”
When posters on the Deseret News story’s comment boards accused McCoy of seeking revenge against Orton, McCoy posted that this wasn’t the case.
“When I look at this I ask myself who is going to do the best job as National Committeeman,” he wrote. “That job is to support an [sic] build the Democratic party [sic] both locally and nationally. … I am not saying that Bill Orton cannot vote for or support anyone he desires. Rather, if he is to be our Democratic National Committeeman he shouldn't endorse Republican candidates over our Democratic candidates. … This is not about me. It is about the principle and the position that Bill holds and seeks to continue to hold.”
In the comments on the Salt Lake Tribune story about his email, McCoy also said he is not the only person who questions Orton’s effectiveness.
“[T]here are five or six people running against Bill for the position,” he wrote.
Orton told the Tribune that endorsing Jarvis, who supported him in a 2000 bid for governor, was only a matter of friendship.
“My endorsement of my friend . . . didn't cost Scott McCoy any votes. But if I had abandoned my friend after he had asked me to help him out, I very well could have lost a close friend.” He later told the Deseret News that he’d thought Jarvis planned to run as a Democrat when he offered his endorsement. He also pointed out that McCoy, who is openly gay, supported Log Cabin Republican Brian Doughty in his bid for Salt Lake City Councilman. The council elections are non-partisan.
McCoy is instead backing Salt Lake City Councilman Joe Hatch for the position.