Two Republicans who support opponents of Gov. Norm Bangerter in his re-election bid are challenging the governor's nomination as the Republican party's gubernatorial candidate, but there is some confusion over where the challenge should be filed.
Joseph Stumph and Ted Pevear appeared Thursday in the office of the Salt Lake County elections clerk to file their challenge, only to be told they must file instead with the lieutenant governor's office because they are challenging the nomination of a statewide candidate.They then took their challenge to the office of the county clerk, saying state law requires them to file it there and the clerk's office could forward the petition to the lieutenant governor's office if necessary.
Stumph recently filed a petition to force County Commissioner Dave Watson from office following Watson's guilty pleas to misdemeanor drunken driving and attempted drug possession charges. That petition was dismissed last week by 3rd District Judge Raymond S. Uno.
Stumph has also filed a challenge to the nomination of Dale Gardiner, chosen by Democrats as a county commission candidate after Watson withdrew his candidacy.
Pevear was the campaign manager for Bangerter's former opponent for the GOP nomination, Dean Samuels.
The challenge asks that Bangerter's nomination be declared invalid because ballots cast by GOP state delegates for independent gubernatorial candidate Merrill Cook - who some tax reformers unsuccessfully tried to nominate at the convention - were not counted and were destroyed by Republican officials. Republicans, however, say no ballots were destroyed.
If votes for Cook were not counted, Bangerter may not have received the 70 percent of state delegates' votes as required by law to receive the party's nomination without a primary, Stumph and Pevear allege.
Stumph and Pevear want state GOP delegates to vote again by mail on their choice of a gubernatorial candidate, hoping that Bangerter will be forced into a primary race with Cook.