Randall Mackey may challenge Rep. Wayne Owens. See Page B2.The number of Republicans taking a hard look at running for Utah's 3rd Congressional District seat in 1992 continues to grow.
Springville businessman J. Brent Haymond and Payson urologist Dean Bristow are sizing up the odds of waging a winning campaign against Democrat Bill Orton. Provo/Orem Chamber of Commerce President Steve Densley and Provo tax attorney John Valentine also are potential candidates.Haymond, bucking a lot of political sentiment, says Orton is beatable.
"I feel I have the capability of beating him or I wouldn't even consider this," he said.
Bristow also thinks Orton can be knocked out of office.
"He's a Democrat who has to answer for the Democratic national program on the local level in an area still very Republican and conservative," Bristow said. "Given the right situation he's beatable."
Haymond was mayor of Springville from 1982 to 1986 and serves in the Utah Legislature as representative for District 65. He is president of Intex Corp., which develops power co-generation facilities in the United States and foreign countries. Haymond spent 25 years working in the computer industry.
Bristow is on duty in Omaha, Neb., as part of Operation Desert Storm. He bid unsuccessfully to be the Republican candidate for Congress in 1990.
Bristow said his interest in running for the office in '92 is the same as in 1990: The other candidates lack expertise or knowledge in areas he considers vital, particularly defense and health care.
"One thing that concerns me is the drawdown in the military," Bristow said. Bristow believes the world remains in a politically unstable period, which makes defense cuts disconcerting.
"The person representing the 3rd District in Congress - will he have the background to make decisions on the tools the young men and women will have to work with when these challenges come out?" Bristow said.
Haymond believes the 3rd District needs - and does not have - a representative with broad-based experience and an understanding of rural issues.
"I have a lot of those credentials, having worked several years with rural power associations and on boards supporting rural development," Haymond said.
During the past legislative session Haymond pushed a successful resolution that provided $350,000 to draft a master plan for economic development and infrastructure needs in rural Utah.
"I'm committed to helping these areas grow because Utah cannot keep growing on the Wasatch Front," he said.
On one area of critical importance to the rural areas of the state - wilderness designation - Orton is "still trying to decide" where he stands despite years of debate, Haymond said.
"I've already (settled) on wilderness acreage of 1.4 million," he said.
Haymond hopes to decide later this year if he'll enter the race. Key factors in the decision are his family, his business and how much financial support he can garner.
Like Valentine and Densley, Haymond thinks it's important for Republicans to "put together a candidate that can talk to all sides of the party."
When Bristow returns to Utah later this month he'll square away his civilian life and then "see what's going on with Orton and who's going to be in the race."
He's not as worried as some potential candidates that the Republican Party back a consensus candidate.
"Anyone who's sincerely interested ought to get into it (the race)," Bristow said.