Longtime state Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, already has a formidable GOP challenger and believes she will have more in 2010, should she choose to run again.
Allen, who describes herself as a moderate Republican, said she "probably" will run for re-election for a ninth two-year term. "But that hasn't been decided yet." She took office in July 1994, filling the unexpired term of another moderate Republican.
Ben Horsley, former Davis County GOP chairman who worked six years for U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, announced Tuesday night he'll run for the House 19 seat.
Allen, a public school advocate who is the director of the Davis School District's non-profit foundation, has been in hot water at times with conservatives at the Legislature.
While she did not sign the ethics complaints against fellow GOP House member Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, in 2008, she worked behind the scenes to bring forth some of the more serious charges against him. Hughes was ultimately found innocent of all charges, but was issued a reprimand by the House Ethics Committee for his conduct.
Allen has firmly opposed private school vouchers, and led the fight against them in the House.
More recently she donated money to Utahns for Ethical Government, a citizen initiative aimed at tightening ethics regulations in the Legislature. GOP legislative leaders strongly oppose the initiative.
"In my eight races in my district only two times have I not faced a challenge" within her own party, Allen said Wednesday.
"I fully expect some more (Republicans) to get in the race. My district has many really talented people in it, and some of them want to serve the public" in the Utah House, she said.
In a press release, Horsley said, "After the great response I received from our elected officials and delegates, as well as in my initial fundraising, I have chosen to pursue this opportunity to represent the citizens of Bountiful in this capacity."
In an interview, Horsley said he's seen some of the concerns conservatives have against Allen, although he personally is not seeking the seat to get her out of office. "I have been asked before by (GOP) delegates to run" for Allen's seat, he said. Now he believes has the time, the qualifications and the desire to serve, and "16 years is enough time" for Allen to have achieved her goals for the district and the state.
Like Allen, Horsley is employed in the education field. He is communications director for the Granite School District.
"My career choices over the past decade, have given me great opportunity to work directly with the Legislature," he said. "I believe that because of this extensive experience and the relationships I have forged, I will be able to immediately have an impact in representing the needs of this district."
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