Former Rep. Brad Daw beats incumbent Rep. Dana Layton in GOP primary

Published: Tuesday, June 24 2014 11:15 p.m. MDT

Tyler Stevens, 4, left, waits as Angela Stevens votes at a polling location at Parkview Elementary School in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, June 24, 2014.

Michelle Tessier, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Rep. Brad Daw beat incumbent Rep. Dana Layton, R-Orem, in Tuesday's primary for the seat she won from him two years ago in a race that saw attack ads that have been tied to the John Swallow scandal.

"I think this was more of a fair fight this time. I think people saw last time was unfair," Daw said after winning with 54.4 percent of the vote. "I worked hard for this. I talked to a lot of people and let them know what was going on."

Daw lost the 2012 race after anonymous mailers attacking him were circulated that were connected to a campaign consultant to Swallow. The former attorney general is now under investigation by the Salt Lake and Davis county attorneys and the FBI.

A House investigative committee uncovered emails from Swallow's computer that dealt with how that consultant, Jason Powers, used hidden campaign money on attack ads against Daw.

“Brad Daw knows (we're) after him," Powers wrote to Swallow on April 19, 2011.

Daw said Tuesday that Layton was not to blame for the ads. "No, no, no. They came from the payday lenders," he said. The controversy surrounding Swallow, who resigned last year, "did play well with voters," Daw said.

He said he was vulnerable in the 2012 election to what he called "a smear campaign" because redistricting had brought new votes into the district he had held for four terms.

Daw now faces Democrat Archie Williams in the November general election.

Turnout was light Tuesday for primary races across the state, which included seven seats in the state Legislature, as well as a number of county offices such as the Salt Lake County assessor and auditor and Utah County attorney.

With just 44 voters casting ballots, the empty storefront serving as the Trolley Square polling station for Tuesday's primary election had plenty of "I Voted" stickers left over.

"It has been a quiet day. But I think it's important to have the polls open," said poll worker Bev Ashby, a retired schoolteacher on duty from when voting opened at 7 a.m. until the polls closed at 8 p.m.

Just then, Jim Dublinski walked in to cast his ballot even though none of the races on the ballot had garnered much attention. He said he's only missed a couple of elections over the years.

"Basically, I always vote because it's my duty as a citizen to vote," Dublinski said. "If I want the right leaders, I have to vote for the ones I think are best for that position."

Utahns who skipped Tuesday's primary "are neglecting their duty," he said.

Outside the shopping and entertainment complex, a handful of protestors opposing the state's partisan primary system spent the evening waving signs at traffic speeding by on 700 East.

Randy Miller of Syracuse, a founder of the Utah League of Independent Voters, said voters who don't affiliate with a political party are unfairly left out of the primary election process.

Miller dismissed a new state law that will require political parties to allow unaffiliated voters to participate in any primary. Currently, only registered Republicans can vote in a GOP primary, while Democrats hold open primaries.

"You defacto still have to join the party. They ask you, 'Do you want a Democratic ballot or a Republican ballot?' I want a taxpayers ballot," Miller said, calling for primary elections where the top vote-getters advance, regardless of party.

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