In 2019, our party was mired in debt, had one staffer, and was ignored by state and national leaders. I ran with three promises: get us out of debt, get us staff, and get us the resources we need to win.
Within a few months of being elected, we took a six figure debt and reduced it to zero. After two years of running up credit card debt at 20 percent interest rates, we paid that card off and threw it in the garbage. We had tens of thousands of dollars in Federal Election Commission fines—all paid. I even cut the Chair’s salary to zero with a promise to take no money until the debt was paid in full. Today we have enough money to get us through 2021 without cutting any staff, to start new programs, and to prepare for redistricting, municipal races, and Election 2022.
When I started, we had one staff member who had not been paid for months. As a Democrat, I believe that people should be paid a fair wage for the work they do. I promised that staff would not go unpaid in the future. Today, we have four staffers—a part-time bookkeeper, and a full-time Executive Director, Deputy Director/Political Director, and Communications Director. Our team contributes to Utah Democrats’ goal of winning races--they all get paid on time too!
It didn’t take long to know that one of the biggest problems we had in 2018 was terrible data. I’ve long said that data is like a garden, you have to tend to it all the time, or weeds start to grow and it becomes worthless. In 2020, we invested $90,000 in data improvement, including funds for cleaning out old data, having a dedicated data director, and helping candidates with utilizing data in the best way possible. We uploaded information on who supported healthcare, medical marijuana, tax reform and redistricting proposals, then we used that information to improve our Get Out the Vote efforts and to develop one of the nation’s best voter protection programs.
“Jeff has been nothing short of kind, generous and giving as well as patient and understanding. One of my favorite things is that he will take the time to listen and consider all sides of a conversation before making a decision. I have never had an issue that I couldn’t bring to him that we could not work out and could not be happier working along side him.”
“I have had the opportunity to work closely with Jeff through Beehive Homes and in his work with the Wasatch Family Foundation. Jeff actively strives to improve the lives of the oldest and youngest citizens in our community through his business and personal endeavors. As a business owner, he is honest, generous and genuinely cares about the people he employs, and the people who live in his homes.”
“Jeffrey Merchant has a high standard of decency and morality that he holds himself to. He values human relationships and has an ability to see diverse cultures and people with appreciation and a willingness to learn from those different from himself. He is a determined individual. If Jeffrey says he is going to do something, you can count on the fact that he will follow through. Both he and his wife are that way, they do not commit to something unless they know they can carry it out.
Also when Jeffrey decides to do something, he will do it 100%. When he applies himself to task, he does it the best he can. He deals with crisis with a calm presence. He knows that with any undertaking there will be many setbacks and difficulties. He anticipates these difficulties and so overcomes them without much distress. He is hardworking, honest and fair in his dealings with other people. ”