SOUTH JORDAN — A member of one of Utah's most famous families is now a member of the state Senate.
Real estate investor Aaron Osmond won the Senate seat Thursday that was left vacant by Chris Buttars in an election attended by GOP delegates.
In two rounds of voting, Republican delegates from District 10 chose Osmond over his 10 opponents, including Rep. Ken Ivory of West Jordan, who turned out to be his closest competitor.
His focus as a senator will be "getting the government out of the way of small business," Osmond said.
"[Osmond] really resonated with the people about being a businessman," said Rick Votaw of the Salt Lake County Republican. He said the delegates likely chose Osmond over Ivory because Ivory already has an office.
Osmond ran unsuccessfully for South Jordan mayor in 2009. He is the son of the oldest Osmond brother, Virl, who was born deaf and didn't often perform with his siblings.
Buttars stepped down the last night of the 2011 Legislature after serving 10 years. He endorsed his daughter, Christie Buttars Giles, as his replacement.
"I'll listen to you," Giles told delegates at the closed election. "I'll be your voice."
But 10 other candidates were in the running, including two GOP House members, Ivory and Rep. Merlynn Newbold of South Jordan. Newbold was first elected to the Legislature in 2000 and Ivory, just last year.
Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, endorsed Newbold at the election.
"There is no person in the House of Representatives who is more committed to public education," he said.
Also in the running for Senate were South Jordan City Councilwoman Aleta Taylor and former U.S. Senate candidate James Williams.
Pat Malan, Jay Cobb, Rich Cunningham, Michael Johnson and Ed Loomis were all first-time office seekers.
Salt Lake County GOP Chairwoman Julie Dole said all the candidates ran hard for the District 10 seat. "Every single one is campaigning," she said before the vote. "All expect to win."
In the first round of voting, Osmond received 34 percent of the vote and Ivory received 26 percent. Osmond took 69 percent of the vote in the second round.
Buttars told fellow senators in his resignation speech he could "honestly state that I have never compromised in the defense of traditional values, nor have I voted on an issue to promote a personal agenda or simply to improve my chances of re-election."
His has suffered a number of health problems, especially in recent years. Some of his comments have generated much controversy, including what was seen as a racist statement on the floor of the Senate in 2008 when he used the word "black" to negatively describe the "baby" being divided in a bill.
During a speech at the election, Buttars said he is proud of what he accomplished in the Senate, but he couldn't say the same about the media.
"Press never liked me and I never liked them," he said.
Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche
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