Three American Party candidates for statewide office have announced their formal campaigns.

Arly Pedersen, the party's national chairman, is running for Utah governor. E. Dean Christensen is running for the 3rd Congressional District. And Robert J. Smith is running for the U.S. Senate.The American Party has two gubernatorial candidates. Lawrence Rey Topham is challenging Pedersen for the party's nomination.

Pedersen was born and raised in Denmark, where, under a socialist government, he learned what government shouldn't be, he said.

He has served in numerous party positions, including Salt Lake County chairman, state executive director, state treasurer, national vice chairman and now as national chairman.

"There is a definite lack of good leadership in Utah, especially in the wake of the largest tax increase in Utah's history. I'm a strong believer in more individual responsibility, limited state government and an end to federal control of rights belonging to the state and the individual," he said.

Smith is the Salt Lake County chairman of the American Party. "I'm concerned about the rapid erosion of our constitutional liberty and intrusion of government into every facet of citizens' lives," he said.

Smith said that Utah senators and congressmen haven't been vigilant in safeguarding citizens' interests. "They have allowed non-elected, non-legislative groups to usurp the prerogatives of our elected representatives. They are subject to special interests and allow the enactment of laws contrary to the express constraints of the Constitution."

Christensen served as a pilot during World War II and recently retired as a pilot for United Airlines. He has studied the Constitution for years. He is on the party's platform committee.

"I bring to the campaign a strong sense of tax issues and the need to reduce the size of government and, in turn, taxes. I have a great desire to see government given back to the American people," he said.