Sen. Orrin Hatch warned Weber County Republicans on Saturday that they have to get out and support GOP candidates because the Democrats are getting millions of dollars from outside Utah to try to unseat him, Gov. Norm Bangerter and Congressman Jim Hansen.
Hatch, R-Utah, told about 350 people at the county convention that Democrats know that Bangerter is in trouble politically and will throw a lot of money into the state to try to take over.Some of Bangerter's problems come from within the party, Hatch admitted, but the senator said the governor can win another four-year term if Republicans pull together.
Hatch said a number of Republicans are planning to support Merrill Cook for governor, which will split the party vote. Cook was a Republican but is running as an independent. Former Salt Lake Mayor Ted Wilson is a Democratic candidate.
"A vote for Merrill is a vote for Ted Wilson," Hatch warned.
The county Republicans gathered in Ogden to select delegates to the state convention next month. The group also selected candidates for the November ballot.
Only one race was contested. Martin Stephens got 82 percent of the vote against his opponent Alma Swann in Legislative District 6. Stephens received 39 votes to Swann's 8. By picking up more than 70 percent of the delegate vote, Stephens bypasses the primary election Sept. 13 and will be on the ballot Nov. 8.
Also on hand to give brief speeches were Bangerter, Hansen, Attorney General David Wilkinson, Lt. Gov. Val Oveson, State Treasurer Ed Alter and State Auditor Tom Allen.
Dalon Anderson, spokesman for Vice President George Bush, who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, also spoke. He said Bush plans to come to Utah sometime this year to campaign but doesn't know the exact date.
Anderson said he isn't too worried about Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis winning Utah because Bush is popular here. Dukakis is the Democratic front-runner.
Bangerter also told the crowd that Utah is a Republican state and he could win a second term if the party pulls together.
"We have strength because we have diversity," he said. "Today, Utah is in better shape than it's been in a long time. Utah is back, and we're moving ahead."
Hansen, R-Utah, seeking a third two-year term in the House against former Democratic Congressman Gunn McKay, said the Democrats no longer control Weber County.
The congressman said he expects a record voter turnout this year with Republicans sweeping the state.
"We work as a team," Hansen said. "The main thing you can do is turn out (to vote)."
And Wilkinson took a shot at Dukakis by saying the candidate is really a liberal dressed in moderate's clothing.
He said Dukakis was opposed to capital punishment and is governor of a state that has abolished the death penalty.
The attorney general said 86 percent of the American population favors capital punishment for criminals who commit heinous crimes.
"That is mainstream America," Wilkinson said.