GOP nominates 2nd, 4th congressional candidates with love and rancor

Governor Gary Herbert, most others avoid June runoff

Published: Saturday, April 21 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

Miller said he received a letter in the mail last week that implicated Stewart in a dirty tricks campaign against former Sen. Bob Bennett in the 2010 election as well as questioning Stewart's military record.

Clark said after the final vote he'd never seen the letter.

"If it was intended to create confusion, they were probably successful," Clark said. "It's sad."

Stewart told reporters he didn't know whether the controversy was what put him over the top.

"It's hard for me to say and I'd hate to speculate," he said. "We're just grateful for the support of the delegates."

Democrats, meanwhile, nominated former state lawmaker Jay Seegmiller in the 2nd District at their state convention in Salt Lake City, which had much less drama than the GOP gathering.

Democratic state party Chairman Jim Debakis called the convention a "model of efficiency and civility," as only one race ended up heading for a primary.

In her speech to delegates, Love said Matheson has failed to stand up to the federal government and "betrayed Utah values."

Matheson told Democratic delegates that Americans are tired of the partisan gridlock in Congress.

"If we're honest about this, we know this can't continue. It's hurting our country in the long run," he told state party delegates Saturday morning.

As Matheson has traveled the state, Utahns have told him that they crave a "common sense" approach to the issues on the national agenda. "Pretty simple, right?"

Earlier in the day, GOP delegates determined Gov. Gary Herbert will be the party's nominee for governor in November.

Herbert won 63.3 percent of the vote in a second round of balloting over former state lawmaker Morgan Philpot, more than the 60 percent needed to avoid a party primary in June.

The second round of voting came after the other four candidates, Utah tea party leader David Kirkham, Rep. Ken Sumsion, R-American Fork, Lane Ronnow and William Skokas, failed to advance.

Kirkham, who came in a distant third in the initial balloting, threw his support behind the governor in the second round, which was needed after Herbert fell just short of the 60 percent needed in the first round.

Hebert was hurt by concerns raised in recent days about a federal education initiative, "Common Core." His supporters said Kirkham's endorsement made the difference with delegates who were wavering.

"Make no mistake, I support local control not federal control of education," a forceful Herbert told the delegates before the second round of voting started. "Do not be misled on this issue."

And while Herbert said the fight against federal control should continue, he said Utahns should not lose sight of need to continue the state's economic recovery.

"Let's not take our eye off the ball," he said. 

Philpot had told the delegates "leadership is not taking credit, it is taking responsibility" and accused the Herbert administration of "making promises it has already broken."

Herbert's Democratic opponent is Peter Cooke, a retired two-start general.

Cooke told Democrats that the fact that it took Herbert two rounds of voting to secure the GOP nomination showed his party's support for the incumbent governor "was not unified."

But the retired two-star general suggested that no GOP primary will work to his and running mate Vince Rampton's advantage, giving them more time to show voters differences between Cooke and Herbert. "The sooner we get to it, the better off we'll be."

The two Republican candidates for Utah attorney general will square off in a primary election.

Assistant attorney general John Swallow received 54.5 percent and corporate and trial lawyer Sean Reyes received 45.5 percent of the delegate vote.

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