Democrats to have primary election in 1st Congressional District

Published: Saturday, April 21 2012 5:10 p.m. MDT

Supporters for Peter Cooke, running for Governor, talk to delegates and voters at the Utah State Democratic Convention held at the Salt Palace. Saturday, April 21, 2012.

Stuart Johnson, Deseret News

Related: Decision 2012: Utah GOP, Democratic state convention coverage, delegate information

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Democratic delegates whittled down candidates in three congressional races during the party's state convention Saturday, selecting three candidates outright.

Candidates in the 1st Congressional District, however, will face off in a primary election, after neither received 60 percent of the vote in a second round of balloting. That outcome was fairly surprising because candidate Donna McAleer had won 59.5 percent of the vote in the first round of balloting.

In second go-round, McAleer's support dropped to 50.75 percent, to Ryan Combe's 49.25 percent.

"I'm disappointed at having a primary, I'm not going to deny that. Primaries consume a lot of financial and human resources," she said. McAleer, a West Point graduate, has worked as a corporate vice president, run a nonprofit organization and is a published author.

Combe, director of marketing for Weber State University, attributed the final outcome to "people voting their hearts."

Meanwhile, in the 2nd and 3rd congressional districts, delegates selected former state lawmaker Jay Seegmiller and Salt Lake City council chairman Soren Simonsen, respectively, as the party's candidates in those districts. 

Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, who was unopposed, was nominated to run in the 4th Congressional District.

In the party's lone contested legislative race, incumbent Rep. Christine Watkins, D-Price, defeated challenger Stanley Larson.

E-mail: marjorie@desnews.com

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