Parties narrow fields at conventions
By Doug Lowe
Parties narrow fields at conventions
Likewise, more than 2,000 Democratic Party delegates cast ranked-choice votes on-line to choose their party’s nominees. The percentage of delegates who participated and cast votes set records for both parties.
One office seeker from Sanpete County emerged from the Republican convention breathing a sigh of relief.
Darrin Owens of Fountain Green, who has been representing Sanpete and Juab counties in the Utah House of Representatives, got 67 percent of the vote on a second ballot, to defeat Doug Heaton of Alton, Garfield County, who got 33 percent.
Under state party rules, if a final candidates gets more than 60 percent, he or she goes to the final ballot without a primary. The vote means Owens will be on the November ballot as the Republican candidate in Senate District 24, the seat that has been held by Ralph Okerlund of Monroe.
“I was thrilled to learn, around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, that I won’t have to spend my limited time and money on campaigning for the primary in June, but will automatically advance to the general election in November,” Owens said.
“I am thankful that I can now stay focused on serving the needs of my rural Utah constituents and on doing my job with Snow College,” Owens added. Owens was recently named executive director of economic and community development for the college.
Two weeks before the state convention, the Sanpete County Republican Party also held a virtual convention.
Sanpete Republicans selected Reed Hatch of Manti, long-time Sanpete County recorder, over Margie Anderson, an Ephraim city councilwoman. The vote was 81 for Hatch and 60 for Anderson.
Under county party rules, if there are only two candidates for a county office, the candidates who gets the most votes in the county convention is nominated to the office without a primary. Hatch is seeking the commission seat now held by Steve Lund of Manti.
In other action at the state Republican convention, Lund emerged as the winner after two rounds of voting in a contest to replace Owens in the Utah House of Representatives.
Lund got 61 percent of the delegate votes, while Mary Nelson of Juab County got 39 percent. Clinton Painter of Nephi was eliminated in the first round.
Both party conventions served to narrow the fields in contested rates for governor , attorney general and U.S. Congress.
In the crowded GOP race for governor, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and former Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright had already secured enough signatures to be on the primary ballot.
Republican delegates gave the former House Speaker Greg Hughes enough votes to add him to the GOP primary election ballot.
The Democrats chose University of Utah law professor Chris Peterson as their nominee for governor with 88 percent of the delegate votes. He will not face a primary. There were seven candidates in the race, but all of the others got less than 5 percent.
Greg Skordas was nominated for attorney general over Kevin Probasco with 96.6 percent of the vote.
The race that generated perhaps the most interest was in Congressional District 4, the seat currently held by Democrat Ben McAdams.
Seven Republicans filed for the seat, and it took six rounds of voting to narrow the field to two finalists. On the final ballot, Kim Coleman , a state representative from West Jordan, got 54.5 percent, while Burgess Owens, a former NFL football player who lives in Salt Lake County, got 45.5 percent. The two will face each other in a primary election in June.
The Democratic convention nominated McAdams with 89.3 percent of the vote over a minor contender who got 10.7 percent.
In Congressional District 2, Republicans nominated incumbent Chris Stewart. He got nearly 72 percent to beat out three other contenders. He will not face a primary.
In the Democratic race, Kael Weston., who served 10 years in the U.S. State Department, got 83 percent of the delegate votes to defeat two other contenders and win nomination without a primary.