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SALT LAKE CITY — It's a tough political road, but the Democrat running against Congressman Jason Chaffetz says it's worth it. Soren Simonson jumped into the race against a powerful incumbent, saying he wants to offer something different.
Simonsen is a career architect and urban planner, knowledge he's applied to his years on Salt Lake's City council. When it comes to running for Congress, he says his motivation boils down to quality of life.
"I want our communities great places to live," Simonsen said. "And that means we have to have great transportation systems. We have to have great quality in our neighborhoods."
Simonsen has the daunting task of taking on a powerful incumbent in Jason Chaffetz. Chaffetz is on Budget, and judiciary committees, and chair of the subcommittee on national security homeland defense and foreign operations. That's allowed him to have a front row seat to current events.
"Everything from our financial woes, to what's going on in Libya, to the secret service scandal and the internet radio fairness act," Chaffetz said. "I get my fingers in all of it."
Chaffetz is a runaway favorite in the race, and in fact has never even met Simonsen. While working full time, Sorensen is optimistic about the limited resources in his campaign.
"We're working with what we have," Simonsen said. "And I think that fiscal discipline and limited resources, that's the kind of thing I'm going to be practicing in congress for the next two years."
But Chaffetz isn't worried: He's been busy, appearing regularly on national news shows for Mitt Romney, and to weigh in on current events. He says his experience is putting himself --and Utah--in a good position to get things done.
"We're working hard, we're voting right, and we're doing a very good job at communicating."
Chaffetz may be winning in the polls, but Simonsen is doing his best to be an alternative voice in a mostly conservative district.
Both candidates say solving the federal deficit is a priority for them, although neither can say how that difficult task may be accomplished.