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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Former U.S. Rep. James V. Hansen says he probably will announce his decision on whether he will run for governor shortly after Labor Day weekend.
"After Labor Day is about the time people are going to get mighty serious about this, and that's about the time I will, too," Hansen said Tuesday.
The retired Republican lawmaker's remarks came a day after Democrat Scott M. Matheson Jr., oldest son of the former Utah governor and dean of the University of Utah law school, filed campaign papers for the governor's race.
Hansen said, "I would kind of enjoy a race against one of the Matheson boys. I have great respect for both of them." Matheson's brother Jim is the Democratic representative from the 2nd U.S. House District. Hansen represented the 1st District.
Hansen said his decision to run is not dependent on whether Republican Gov. Mike Leavitt seeks a fourth term. Leavitt has said he will decide this fall whether he will seek re-election.
Hansen said he would base his decision to run on his conviction that at age 70 he still has significant contributions in public office to make. Hansen said the advantages to seeking the state's top job at his age are that there is no worrying about working his way up the political rungs.
"I really would not want to go back to Congress because I would have to start at the bottom again," Hansen said. "That's one thing about being governor: You don't work up the line. You're it from the day you come in office until the day you're out."
Hansen said he is certain his age would be a campaign issue, "but in Utah we're not exactly foreign to the idea of older people running the show. And I'm not exactly senile yet. I still have a lot of energy."
Among other possible GOP contenders, state Sen. Parley Hellewell of Orem has announced he will seek the nomination, and House Speaker Marty Stephens of Farr West has filed to organize a campaign committee. Former ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr., the son of industrialist Jon Huntsman Sr., said he may seek the nomination but not if Leavitt runs for re-election.
Former House Speaker Nolan Karras also has been talking about running and Merit Medical Chairman and CEO Fred Lampropoulos and Utah County Commissioner Gary Herbert also have been mentioned as possible candidates for the Republican nomination.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)