SALT LAKE CITY — Former Gov. Mike Leavitt endorsed Dave Clark in the 2nd Congressional District race on Tuesday.

Clark, who served as Utah House speaker, is one of 11 Republicans competing for the party's nomination at Saturday's GOP state convention.

Leavitt said Clark "possesses the right vision, leadership skills and experience to represent residents of the 2nd Congressional District. I am endorsing him now because it is in our state's interest and the Republican Party's interest to unify and support his candidacy."

The former governor and member of President George W. Bush's cabinet said Clark stands out because of his experience balancing Utah's budget during the economic downturn, skills Leavitt said are needed now in Washington, D.C.

Delegates to the state convention will decide which of the 11 candidates advance. The top two-vote getters will face a primary election if no candidate gets at least 60 percent of the votes cast. 

The 2nd District seat is currently held by Utah's only Democrat in Congress, Rep. Jim Matheson. Matheson has chosen to run this election in the state's new 4th Congressional District, added through redistricting.