Hawkins to seek 3rd District post

Published: Tuesday, March 16 2004 3:41 p.m. MST

Salt Lake attorney Greg Hawkins filed Monday to run in Utah's 3rd Congressional District.

Hawkins, a Republican, challenged Sen. Orrin Hatch in 2000 for the GOP nomination and lost. Now he says his worst-case scenario will be facing incumbent Rep. Chris Cannon in a primary election.

To win this election, Hawkins must capture the Republican nomination in one of Utah's most conservative areas. Hawkins will face incumbent Chris Cannon and former congressional challenger Matt Throckmorton.

"I don't have the millions of dollars that Chris does, but we have grass-root support," Hawkins said.

Hawkins, who filed his candidacy papers at the Lieutenant. Governor's office, told the Deseret Morning News that through March 15, his campaign raised roughly $72,000. Hawkins said most of the money came in $200 donations from area residents. Hawkins said he has donated about $10,000 of his own money.

"Putting millions into it isn't going to shift the boat," Hawkins said.

The Hawkins campaign wants to raise at least $200,000 by the Republican state convention, which takes place on May 8.

When it comes to doling out the funds to campaign, Hawkins said his staff will first spend about $10,000 on mailers to residents in the 3rd district. Radio advertising won't begin until May, just before the convention, and television ads will run during June if he is able to force a primary election.

Hawkins said his campaign staff has been conducting a telephone survey to gauge his support. Hawkins said his organization has reached about 1,000 former state delegates, or about half the number who attended the 2000 and 2002 conventions.

Based on his own polling, Hawkins said the worst-case scenario would be a primary vote. If no candidate wins at least 60 percent of the vote in May's state GOP convention, then a June primary election will be held between the top two candidates.

"It's always very difficult to unseat incumbents," said Kelly Patterson, chair of the Brigham Young University political science department. "If it does happen, it happens in the primaries."

Patterson said incumbents typically have more favorable press, a better organization and access to more funds.

To spur conversation on ideas, Hawkins said he would like to hold debates. Both of his opponents have previously served in elected positions. Hawkins has not.

Hawkins said he does not see Throckmorton as a major roadblock. Hawkins said "statistically, he is not an issue" because Throckmorton doesn't have a large base of operations.

Utah's Democratic Party has not yet announced its candidate for the election but is expected to do so on Wednesday.

"It's a race that can be won," said Donald Dunn, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party. "We have a shot at doing things."


E-mail: jburke@desnews.com

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