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Profiling James M. Evans, First African American Chairman of the Utah Republican Party



James M. Evans, a politician and businessman, served as the Utah Republican Party’s first African American chairman. Robert and Beatrice Evans welcomed him into the world in 1962 in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He was the class president at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School when he graduated in 1981, and the following year, he enrolled in Tuskegee University in Alabama. He earned a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from the university in 1985. His political involvement developed at this time as he joined the Young Republicans Club at Tuskegee.

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Evans joined the American Air Force after receiving his degree and served as a navigator. Evans moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, once his duty was finished, where he later launched a small business in 1994. He established the payday loan chain Chekline, which eventually succeeded and made him one of the city’s most successful black businessmen.


Evans campaigned for Utah’s District 1 state senator in 2001. The first district was a stalwart of the Democratic Party. At the time Evans was campaigning, it had been 30 years since a Republican had held the position. The George H. Bush White House became interested in the contest and dispatched local advisers to help with the campaign. Workers and racial minorities who often don’t support Republicans were won over by Evans. One of the most important Republican victories of the election cycle was regarded as his victory. Between 2002 and 2004, Evans served in that capacity and participated on the Utah Republican Bylaws Committee.

After his term was over, Evans concentrated on local politics. Delegates selected Evans to take over as chairman of the Salt Lake County Republican Party in 2005 at the Salt Lake County Republican Convention. He reached the position’s two-term maximum after being re-elected in 2007 for another two years. At this point, Republican success in the county had decreased, as seen by the party losing control of the normally Republican County Council. Evans, who was the outgoing council chair in 2009, believed the party’s fortunes would soon improve. Evans concentrated on his company, Chekline, and real estate ventures after leaving office.

Evans became the first African American to assume the position of chairman of the Utah Republican Party on May 18, 2013. His major objective was to make sure the Republicans won the election. He placed a high importance on preserving the caucus and convention system as well as educating young people about voting and politics. Evans gained notoriety during the 2016 presidential campaign for his contentious criticism of Bill Clinton in a CNN interview. Racist threats to kill Evans were made to the Utah Republican Party offices, prompting the addition of security measures. Evans is still the Utah Republican Party’s chairman at the moment.



Written by How Africa News

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