Republican Party candidates facing primary contests in Davis County will be on their own until the voters speak in September and select the final candidates for the November election.
Party Chairman Steve Smoot said the party will take no active role in the primary election and will make no endorsements of candidates prior to the vote.Smoot said the large number of primary contests coming out of last week's county convention shows the strength of the GOP field.
"I think it shows we had strong candidates across the board," Smoot said. Of the strong showing of candidates supporting tax limitation measures, Smoot added, "I think it is reflective of how people feel concerning the economy - I think it says they want a little more control."
Is this showing an indication that the party is divided? "I don't think so," Smoot said. "I don't think the tax limitation group is a real strong faction in the county."
Smoot, whose party has held virtually every partisan elective office in the county for nearly 15 years, said close scrutiny shows that Davis County is economically run well, with residents paying about $71 per capita for county government while the state average is $175.
Smoot attributed the apparent division in the party more to the fact that Davis has an unusually high number of educators who are active in the party. With the strong call for added funding for public education, many of the county's long-time conservative members are at odds with the education faction.
The conservative group "opposes government proliferation and wants some kind of tax limitation," Smoot said. "I think the diversity of interests actually adds to the party's balance."
Some incumbent candidates may feel differently. Primary contests are in line for the two-year commission seat, the clerk's office and Legislature's House districts 14, 17 and 20 and Senate District 23.
In districts 14 and 17, the incumbents ran second in the delegate voting.
In District 14, incumbent Scott W. Holt will face Dee Ann Fisher, and in District 17 incumbent Walt Bain will face challenger Donn S. Redd.
There were no incumbents in the other races. In the Senate contest, Jack P. Redd forsook a re-election run for the House in favor of a possible Senate seat. The move came close to disaster at the convention, where Lane Beattie missed winning the nomination outright by just 3 percentage points. Redd, still standing but leaning heavily on the ropes, will have his work cut out for him.
In District 20, Nancy Sonntag Lyons led the balloting but still faces a primary contest against Loren Martin, a former county attorney.
At the county level, incumbent Commissioner Harold J. Tippetts ran first in the delagate balloting for the two-year nomination but couldn't muster enough support to bypass the primary. He will face a strong challenge from Dub Lawrence, a former Democratic sheriff who joined the Republican Party this year.
The clerk race finds incumbent Commissioner Glen E. Saunders facing a primary contest against Margene Isom for the nomination. Saunders withdrew from the four-year commission race in favor of a run for the clerk's post.