Only one of the two incumbent state senators involved in a primary election will make the November ballot. And the only incumbent House member seeking a Senate seat lost his primary bid.
First-term Sen. Delpha Baird, R-Holladay, lost her bid for re-election in District 9 to Steve Poulton by a margin of almost 2-1. Both campaigned on a theme of family support with Baird promoting her background as a child advocate and Poulton promoting a 700-member youth corps engaged in his campaign against gang violence.But Poulton said the two differed substantially in their approaches to the issues. "We just demonstrated the district was dissatisfied," he said.
Baird's loss assures the Senate will see a 50 percent turnover compared with its makeup four years ago.
A family-issues platform also played in the Democratic primary in District 9, where surgeon Scott Leckman won the race over attorney Steven Wall.
"The basic needs of children should be met regardless of whether times are good or bad," Leckman said before the primary. Now that he is in a race with another first-time candidate, he believes his experience and perspective as a physician set him apart with the ability to deal with people's problems.
Republican Rep. Phil Uipi chose to abandon his House seat in District 36 to seek the Senate seat in Mount Olympus' and Mill Creek's District 7, where Republican incumbent Sen. Ronald J. Ockey is not seeking re-election.
But he lost 37 percent to 63 percent to primary challenger David L. Buhler.
Buhler credits part of his success to name recognition that carried over from his unsuccessful race for Salt Lake mayor in 1991.
Not getting the party nomination during the county convention was disappointing, "but the fact that I had this primary race is helpful in the sense that I've built a grass-roots organization that I wouldn't have had otherwise," Buhler said. He now faces Democrat Bob Adams and Libertarian Charles G. Pearce in the November election.
Utah Democratic Party Chairman and state Rep. Dave Jones said all of the surprises were in the Republican races. "I am really surprised Delpha went down as heavy as she did and that Phil Uipi went down as hard as he did."
Winners enjoyed substantial margins in some of the Senate's other GOP primaries as well.
In District 21, incumbent Sen. David H. Steele claimed 62 percent over Lori K. Roberts' 38 percent. The district includes most of north Davis County and has been held by Steele for eight years. Steele now faces Democrat Gale E. Voight, Libertarian Norman Parker and Independent American candidate Jeffrey Ostler.
And in District 22, Craig L. Taylor took 68 percent of the vote over Doug Durbano's 32 percent. The district includes most of Centerville and all of Farmington, Fruit Heights, Kaysville and central and east Layton.
District 22 was held for 38 years by Haven J. Barlow, who announced his retirement this year. But Taylor said he did not feel like he was campaigning in Barlow's shadow. "If Craig Taylor is elected in November, then it will be Craig Taylor, not a Haven Barlow clone or anything else. I'm my own person, and people that know me know that."