Congressional candidates debate in race for seat

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WEST JORDAN -- Saturday, in anticipation of the upcoming GOP convention, five Republican candidates went head-to- head in a debate.

The candidates, all social conservatives, are competing for a chance to run against Congressman Jim Matheson this fall in the newly created 4th Congressional district. They all feel that there is opportunity for a Republican to win the seat.

As an African Americans female, Saratoga Spring Mayor Mia Love says that diversity isn't all she has to offer. She uses her experience as mayor to show that she has been able to cut spending and encourage the local economy and businesses to grow.

"I'm the only candidate up here who has actually taken a city and cut spending, and made sure we were fiscally responsible," Love said. But she's running against two politically established ex- legislators, Rep. Carl Wimmer and Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, who both tout their proven track records in the field. During the debate, Sandstrom called to mind his governmental experience on both state and city levels.

"I have made courageous choices," Sandstrom said. "I have shown courageous leadership."

Less known politically, attorney Jay Cobb and author Kenneth Gray are also running.

"We've been talking about this forever," Cobb said. "We need something different, and I'm different. We've been electing politicians to go back to Washington D.C. and I think it's time we elect a problem solver."

Gray touched on energy independence and developing public lands, saying that Utah's economy depends upon it.

Republicans seem to have as much desire to beat Matheson as they do beating President Barack Obama. The difference is, this is local, and not an easy choice to make.

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Richard Piatt


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