Democrat Paul Van Dam holds a healthy lead over his intraparty challenger, Zane Gill, in their Utah attorney general's race as the state Democratic convention approaches this weekend.
But both men trail Republican Attorney General David Wilkinson, the latest Dan Jones & Associates poll conducted for the Deseret News and KSL-TV shows.Van Dam leads Gill 33-11 percent among the general public, Jones found in a May 31-June 1 survey. The two face each other Saturday in the convention. If delegates give either man 70 percent of their vote, the other is eliminated and the winner goes against Wilkinson. If one doesn't get 70 percent, then the two face each other in a Sept. 13 primary where any registered voter can participate.
In an earlier interview, Van Dam said he hopes he can beat Gill in Saturday's convention, thus avoiding a primary battle.
Van Dam does better matched against Wilkinson, the incumbent who is seeking a third term, than Gill, although Wilkinson has increased his lead over both.
In the final election were held today, 40 percent said they'd vote for Wilkinson, 30 percent Van Dam and 30 percent didn't know who they would vote for.
In a Wilkinson-Gill final match up, Wilkinson would get 42 percent of the vote, Gill 22 percent, 1 percent would vote for someone else and 35 percent didn't know.
Wilkinson has increased his lead over Van Dam and Gill over the past month. In an April 19 poll, Jones found that Wilkinson led Van Dam by 5 points - it is now 10 points - and led Gill by 17 points - it is now 20 points.
Van Dam was the Salt Lake County attorney during the mid-1970s but retired from public life for a time.
Gill is known for his work in several high-profile cases, including his defense of Shauna Clark, the Salt Lake County secretary who sought sexual harassment charges against former county attorney Ted Cannon.