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Jan 13, 2022 11:21AM ● By Tom Haraldsen, The Davis Journal

KAYSVILLE–Ally Isom had had enough–enough of the tone and the way she felt politicians talked to each other and about each other. She felt civility could return to government, particularly at a national level. So in July, she went “all in” by leaving her full time job as Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer for EVŌQ Nano and declared her intention to run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by two-term incumbent Mike Lee.

Now, the first phase of that race is on, as Isom has begun the process of gathering 28,000 signatures from registered Utah Republicans to assure her name is on the primary election ballot on June 28. Though the state has 853,875 “active” Republican registered voters, according to the website vote.utah.gov, gathering that many signatures presents a challenge that any senatorial candidate has to take on.

“It’s a high threshold  and a short amount of time,” she said from her home in Kaysville. “The signatures are due by the end of March, and we’re in a race to have our first batch of at least 28,000 to turn in as quickly as possible.”

In 2014, the state legislature passed SB54, which allows candidates to gather signatures so they can enter the primary along with the candidate that is selected at the state GOP convention. It’s been a controversial process since first passed, with elements of the Republican Party both praising it and decrying it. Both Lee and fellow Republican candidate Becky Edwards are also gathering signatures this year, as Lee did in 2016.

“Each signature needs to be gathered in person, and logistically that has plenty of challenges,” Isom said. “We have an army of volunteers who’ve taken this on and have started collecting signatures. Voters can only sign the petition for one candidate, and there could be errors that would cause some of the signatures to be thrown out. So our target is 32-35,000 signatures.”

She said none of those petitions can be submitted to the state until at least 28,000 have been gathered. Subsequent signatures can be submitted before the deadline, but that first patch has to have at least 28K.

Even with hundreds of volunteers, Isom and her fellow competitors have to have help. That means hiring professionals to assist in the gathering, a challenge at a time with labor shortages  in Utah and the COVID-19 pandemic. Hiring of those professionals could push the cost per signature to as high as $14-15 apiece, as candidates in past elections have found.

“People are very leery of opening their front doors when our volunteers knock, because of the virus,” she said. “I understand that. So we’ve been having signing parties in neighborhoods, and canvassing every Saturday.” Her “Rally for Ally” events find volunteers dressed in red shirts and red beanies, and some wearing red running shoes like Isom’ signature footwear she has worn  since her first campaign appearance in her hometown at Kaysville’s Independence Day parade. 

“I love meeting everyone face-to-face, being out in the communities and hearing their stories while I’m telling them mine,” she said. “I’ve been walking in a lot of communities, about 70 so far, with many more to come. I’ve spent every waking moment involved with this campaign to really take it to the people of Utah. We can make a difference. We can get the kind of leadership in Washington where there’s a voice for unity and core principles.”

Isom’s website, allyforutah.com, has more information about her campaign and how others can volunteer and get involved. 

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