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Utah Dems duke it out for vacant Senate seat

By John Daley | Posted - Nov 26th, 2012 @ 8:00pm


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Another hot Utah political race is on the horizon - an intra-party showdown for one of the few Democratically-held Senate seats in the Legislature.

Democrat Ben McAdams was elected Salt Lake County mayor earlier this month, and now seven candidates are vying for his seat. KSL News spoke to a few of the headliners Monday.

Among them, Peter Corroon, the man who McAdams will replace in just a few weeks.

"I think I'm the most prepared candidate of anybody," he said. "Boots on the ground day one I get there. I know the senators, I know the issues, I've been working on a lot of the issues."

Also in the running is Jenny Wilson, a former leader in Salt Lake County and former candidate for Salt Lake City mayor.

"I've worked in a legislative environment," she said. "I've been a county councilmember and I succeeded in passing democratic initiatives with Republican support."

Often outspoken Jim Dabakis, current chair of the state Democratic party, says he'd keep his current job while serving in the Senate.

"My day job is a state party chair and I'm paid a dollar a year for that," he said. "I would stay on full salary and then I would do my civic duty in the Legislature to serve the state."

One key question: what is the role for Democratic lawmakers whose numbers include just five seats in the Utah Senate? We asked the contenders, here's what they said.

"One is to work on issues that are important, and two, to be a watchdog for what may be happening for the majority party," said Corroon.

Wilson said, "I think there are times when you need to make a point and you need to speak up and speak up forcefully. But it has to be strategic."

Dabakis says it's all about mixing things up. "We've had 27 years of not rocking the boat," he said. "I'm not for tipping over the boat, but it's OK to kind of stand up and speak and tell the truth."

The candidates will debate Tuesday evening, and a victor will be chosen on Saturday.

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