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Gov. Huntsman taps new legislator for rest of term

Gov. Huntsman taps new legislator for rest of term

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has replaced the state legislator who resigned amid accusations he tried to bribe a fellow Republican to get out of the state treasurer's race.

Huntsman tapped a health-care executive, Brian Monsen, for the rest of the year to replace Rep. Mark Walker in a Sandy, Utah, district.

Walker insisted he never offered Chief Deputy State Treasurer Richard Ellis a hefty raise to drop out of the race and keep his post as deputy treasurer. He argued from the start that his offer of reconciliation was misconstrued.

Ellis went on to win the Republican primary with 59 percent of the vote in June.

In July, Walker resigned his legislative seat the night before a House Ethics Committee hearing was to investigate his conduct. Separately, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has commissioned a criminal probe, tapping two outside prosecutors to handle it.

Huntsman said he was confident Monsen will serve the state with "discernment and decorum."

Monsen, 41, is strategic-planning government relations director for Molina Health Care Utah.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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