Utah County Republican delegates nominated three candidates for Utah Senate and House races during the GOP convention Saturday.
Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Howard Nielson, both R-Utah, and Gov. Norman H. Bangerter attended.Janette C. Hales, endorsed in the caucus meeting by her Republican opponent Cal Monson, was nominated by acclamation after delegates voted in unison to support her as the party candidate in the District 63 representative race.
Rep. Craig A. Peterson, R-Orem, was selected as Republican candidate for the District 14 Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Paul Rogers, R-Orem. He received 154 votes while R.L. "Bob" Wright received 55.
Bill Wright was selected to represent the Republicans in House District 67. He will be looking to unseat Rep. Drew Daniels, D-Salem. Wright had 48 votes and O. Dean Pendelton had 13.
Candidates in three other races failed to capture 70 percent of the votes cast by delegates representing the district of candidacy. They will face runoffs in the Sept. 13 state primary.
House District 58 incumbent Rep. Donald R. LeBaron barely missed being nominated. He had a 62 percent lead over Alpine attorney Gregory B. Hadley, who received 26 votes. LeBaron received 40 votes and Marguerite A. McGowan, another candidate for the seat, received four votes. LeBaron and Hadley will be vying for the seat in the September primary.
Other House races to be decided in the September primary are: District 59, sought by Orem attorney Bryce D. McEuen, who got 40 votes, and John L. Valentine, who got 47; and District 65, where Don R. Strong received 31 votes and Michael N. Stansfield received 26 votes. The victor in the Strong-Stansfield race will be looking to unseat incumbent Rep. Glenn V. Bird, D-Springville.
Unopposed state and countywide candidates were also nominated to represent the GOP in the primary. Utah County Commissioner Brent C. Morris was nominated for a four-year county commission seat, Provo attorney Sid Sandberg was nominated for the two-year county commission seat, Bruce Peacock was nominated as county auditor and Leonard Ellis was nominated as county treasurer.
In the unopposed state race, C.E. "Chuck" Peterson will represent the District 16 Senate race. Those unopposed in the House race include District 57's Christine Fox, District 60's Pat Nix, District 61's R. Lee Ellertsen, District 62's Jeril B. Wilson, District 64's Byron Harward and District 66's Charlie Bates.
In his remarks to delegates, Hatch said this is a rough election year, but it ought to be the best. He said it amazes him that a conservative state such as Utah has only put presidential candidate George Bush ahead by 4 percent in Utah polls. "It shows the Republican party of Utah is not standing up and doing what it should," he said. "It is time for us to wake up and fight back and vote for Republicans wherever they are."
Nielson also encouraged Republicans to vote for their party. "Democrats feel they are on the verge of taking over government, and we have to counter that with enthusiasm and hard work."
Bangerter said, "All we have to do is stick together. If you vote for anyone else (ther candidates for governor) you will be voting for Ted Wilson."
He told delegates it is time to stop being mad about tax increases and low education dollars and instead continue to work through problems so the state will continue to move forward.
"We educate 55 percent more students than any other state," Bangerter said. "You have to think of the budget implications."
He said the $1.2 million education budget could be reduced by $400,000 if Utah's student population was that of other states, but because most Utahns choose to have large families "we can't compete with the rest of the world" and their education dollars.
Bangerter believes, however, that Utahns receive more for their investment in education than any other state in the nation.
The state has been burdened with high taxes, Bangerter said, but he pledged to reduce taxes if re-elected.
"The state's debt was reduced from 12 to six years, and we got ourselves on a pay-as-we-go basis. That is the way we ought to go, he said."
Dean Samuels, another Republican candidate for governor, said his vision and plan is to turn around the state's economy. "I am the Republican candidate to win back your confidence."
He said unemployment in the state may be down, but that is because thousands of people have left the state to find work. He also said the tax surplus came from overpayment in taxes, not in reduced spending.
More than 73 percent of the county's delegates attended the GOP primary convention at Mountain View High School. Of 900 delegates, 752 attended the convention, which set a party record, said Pearl Rex, a party official. More than 1,000 people were in attendance, most likely to hear Hatch speak, she said.
Steve Shallenberger, county Republican chairman, said he "was especially pleased with the turnout. It was absolutely fabulous."