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Michelle Tessier/Deseret News

Several local races up for grabs in Utah primary

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 24, 2014 at 9:01 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — In a story June 23 about Utah's primary election, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson was being challenged by Bob Yeaman in Tuesday's primary. That race was decided in April at the party convention, where party delegates nominated Richardson.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Several local races up for grabs in Utah primary

With only a handful of races to be decided, Utah's primary election to be relatively quiet

By MICHELLE L. PRICE

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A handful of state legislative seats and county-level offices are among the races to be decided during otherwise largely quiet primary elections in Utah.

Turnout is expected to be light across the state Tuesday in part because each party's candidates for the state's four congressional seats, attorney general and dozens of state legislative races were already decided at party conventions in late April.

Under the state's caucus and convention system, candidates can bypass primary elections if they win their party's nominations with 60 percent of delegate votes.

But that system is set to change starting next year when a new law takes effect that will allow candidates to bypass the caucuses and convention. Instead, candidates who gather enough signatures can compete in a party's primary race.

Tim Chambless, a professor of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics, said the lack of many competitive races is a bit surprising, but there were no major issues galvanizing voters against incumbents, and in many races, one candidate entered party conventions with a solid lead.

For most Utah residents, the primary is "not on their radar screen," Chambless said.

Here's a look at some of the races on Tuesday:

STATE SENATE

About half of the Utah state Senate is up for re-election this year, but only two primary races are set to be decided on Tuesday.

In southern Utah's 28th Senate District, voters are seeing a 2012 rematch. Incumbent Republican Sen. Evan Vickers is being challenged by former state Sen. Casey Anderson. Anderson, a rehabilitation counselor, was appointed to hold the seat in 2011 after the death of Dennis Stowell.

In the next election in 2012, he lost to Vickers, a pharmacist and business owner. At the state GOP convention in May, Anderson fell one vote short of clinching the nomination and avoiding the primary. Whoever wins on Tuesday will win the seat_no Democrats or third-party candidates are running.

In the 2nd District, Republicans will choose between Jacquie Nielsen or George Chapman, both from Salt Lake City. The winner will face incumbent Democratic Sen. Jim Dabakis in November.

STATE HOUSE

Party nominations for five state House seats will be decided Tuesday, with four of the races involving Republican battles.

In House District 60, incumbent Rep. Dana Layton of Orem is squaring off with her 2012 primary opponent, Brad Daw. Daw, an engineer and former four-term legislator, lost his House seat in 2012 to Layton, who runs an event production company. In 2012, a political action committee backed by anonymous donors sent mailers attacking Daw to voters in the district. A legislative investigation into Utah's former attorney general concluded that payday lenders appeared to be funding the attacks on Daw, who had proposed legislation restricting the industry.

Daw has not blamed Layton for the mailers but during his campaign this year, he has been discussing their role in his ouster.

Whoever wins on Tuesday will face Democrat Archie Williams in November.

In the 7th District, Justin Fawson of North Ogden and Dan Duel of Ogden will square off for the GOP nomination. The winner will face Democrat Camille Neider in November. In the 19th District in Bountiful, voters will decide whether Republican Raymond Ward or Chet Loftis will face Democrat Daniel Donahoe in November. Cedar City will decide whether John Westwood or Blake Cozzens will be their Republican candidate for District 72. The winner will face Libertarian Barry Shot in November.

The only legislative primary for Democrats on Tuesday is District 38 in Kearns, where Elias McGraw and Chrystal Butterfield are vying for the chance to unseat incumbent Republican Rep. Eric Hutchings

COUNTY RACES

Voters on Tuesday will pick primary candidates for several county-level offices.

In Utah County, incumbent County Attorney Jeff Buhman faces a challenge from attorney Ben Stanley. In southwestern Utah's Washington County, voters will pick between incumbent Brock Belnap, who's seeking a third term, and challenger Nathan Caplin, for the Republican nomination.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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