Final Day to File Brings Surprises to Gubernatorial Race

Final Day to File Brings Surprises to Gubernatorial Race

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Richard Piatt ReportingThe 2004 political season in Utah got just a little more interesting today. This was the last day for candidates to file their intentions to run for office, and there were a few surprises.

One surprise was former Congressman Merrill Cook who filed today as a candidate for Salt Lake County mayor. He's running as an independent.

There is also another Republican candidate for Governor who filed this afternoon; that makes nine GOP candidates in all now. Today’s addition is Gary Benson, and not even the state Republican Party knows much about him yet. It adds flavor to the already spicy race for Utah Governor.

Last-day filers included Jon Huntsman, Junior who made it official at the State Elections office today.

This afternoon, Democrats had a surprise of their own when Beau Babka filed to run against Chris Cannon in the Third Congressional District. Babka is a South Salt Lake police officer and ran for Salt Lake County Sheriff last year. He says he thinks Cannon is vulnerable, but doesn't have specifics yet.

Beau Babka, Candidate for Congress: “Obviously Congressman Cannon has been in there for quite some time, and obviously it’s time for a change.”

I guess we'll leave it to him to tell voters why it's obvious over the course of the campaign.

The aftermath of today's filing leaves interesting runoff and primary elections for Republicans in the Second and Third Congressional Districts, and of course the now nine-way race for Governor.

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