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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- House Speaker and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Marty Stephens has picked state Sen. Tom Hatch of Panguitch as his lieutenant governor running mate.
"No one who has worked with Tom doubts he has the capacity to be governor; they admire his leadership style," said Stephens, the Deseret Morning News reported.
Stephens said he and Hatch "are close friends, who share the same work ethic, style and beliefs."
He noted that President George W. Bush chose Dick Cheney of Wyoming as is running mate even though it would provide political help.
"You pick someone you are comfortable with. That said, no one can remember a governor or lieutenant governor who was living in rural Utah" when they were elected, he said.
Hatch, 52, is a member of the Cowboy Caucus, a group of conservative rural Utah lawmakers who have had a strong influence in the Legislature.
Hatch runs a ranching operation, a title company and a real estate development firm.
Hatch said Stephens is "someone I've never said 'no' to."
Stephens "could have picked others who are more popular," Hatch said. "He could see I was someone he could work well with."
Among other Republican gubernatorial hopefuls, Gov. Olene Walker chose Lt. Gov. Gayle McKeachnie as her running mate, Fred Lampropoulos picked Brigham City Mayor Lou Ann Christensen, Nolan Karras selected former Congresswoman Enid Greene and Jon Huntsman Jr. picked Utah County Commissioner Gary Herbert.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)