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Salt Lake County Republicans, Democrats to hold conventions

Published: Thursday, April 10 2014 6:17 p.m. MDT

Salt Lake City.

Ravell Call, Deseret News Archives

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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Republicans and Democrats will determine Saturday whether there will be primary elections in 22 contested races for county offices and legislative seats.

"It's actually very exciting," Salt Lake County GOP Chairwoman Suzanne Mulet said of having 16 races for delegates to decide at the Salt Lake County Republican Convention. "It's a good thing. I'm all for competition."

Salt Lake County Democratic Party Chairman Richard Jaramillo said having multiple candidates in six races "gets the delegates excited. They certainly see the importance of their role as delegates when there's an intraparty contest."

A little more than 1,000 Democratic and 2,600 Republican delegates will spend Saturday at their annual party conventions. Democrats are meeting at West Jordan Middle School, 7550 S. Redwood Road, and Republicans at Cottonwood High School, 5715 S. 1300 East, Murray.

Mulet, who took over as the GOP's acting county chairwoman after former chairman Chad Bennion resigned last month, said the party decided earlier this year to boost the number of delegates by 1,000 so more Republicans could be involved.

"We wanted to open up," Mulet said. "You get more perspectives."

Races the Republicans will consider are two County Council seats, county assessor, county auditor, two state Senate seats and 10 state House seats. Democrats have races for county auditor, four House seats and one Senate seat.

Candidates in contested races with the support of at least 60 percent of delegates voting in the conventions will become their party's nominee and avoid a primary election.

"I think that it's possible we could see a primary coming out of a couple of these races," Jaramillo said, especially in races where three Democrats are vying to be nominated for a spot in the November general election.

Democrats will also consider a change to the county party platform opposing "the privatization of public safety functions, particularly the proliferation of private, for-profit prisons."

The 2014 Legislature approved relocating the Utah State Prison from Draper, but no decisions have been made about where the prison would be moved and how it would be operated.

Mulet said Republicans will deal with any bylaw or platform changes at their county central committee meeting in May. That's also where the county GOP will choose a chairman.

Email: lisa@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsPolitics

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