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Utah's laws for filling Senate seat differ from Illinois'

Utah's laws for filling Senate seat differ from Illinois'

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Utah leaders say what's happening in Illinois could not happen here because of Utah's laws for filling a vacant Senate seat.

If Utah lost either Sen. Orrin Hatch or Sen. Bob Bennett, both Republicans, then the Utah Republican Party would send three names for a replacement to the governor. He then would pick one of those three names.

Senate President-elect Michael Waddoups explained, "In Utah, if a Democratic Party seat became open, then the Democratic Party would have the opportunity to send up three names from their consideration who they thought would be qualified for the Senate seat. The governor is restricted to those three candidates as the possible candidates. So it would be hard for him to go out early and make promises to ‘sell the seat' to someone because that person may not be among the nominees sent to him."

House Speaker-elect David Clark says prescreening would keep the governor from promising or selling the seat to anyone. "I think it would be far more difficult -- I'm not saying that it's impossible -- but far more difficult for something like that to take place in Utah than what we are seeing unfolding in Illinois," he said.

In Illinois, the governor has sole power to pick a replacement for the vacant seat. Utah leaders say our governor could pick himself to fill the seat if he is one of those three names submitted by the party.


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Mary Richards


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