Congressional contests: McAleer versus Clemens, Bishop versus Chiu
March 21, 2014
Two Democrats are vying for the party’s nomination in the 1st Congressional District and the Republican incumbent in the district faces a challenge from someone within the party.
Much of the focus had been on the Democratic contest as the filing window approached, but Rep. Rob Bishop, the Republican who holds the seat, will need to fend off another GOP candidate, David Yu-Lin Chiu of Provo, to reach the November ballot. There are also two third-party candidates seeking the congressional seat — Libertarian Craig Bowden of North Ogden and Independent American Dwayne Vance from Salt Lake City. Vance is an attorney who practices in the Park City area.
There is expected to be special interest in the Democratic nominating process in the Park City area as a Snyderville Basin resident again mounts a campaign.
Donna McAleer, who lives in Pinebrook, was the party’s candidate in 2012, winning the nomination in a primary election before losing to Bishop by a wide margin on Election Day.
McAleer is a West Point graduate who served in the Army and has a varied background in management consulting, not-for-profit leadership and the technology field. She was once the executive director of the People’s Health Clinic, a Park City not-for profit group that provides care for people without health insurance. She serves on a Defense Department committee centered on issues related to women in the armed forces.
McAleer, who is 48 years old, said important campaign issues are job creation and the broader economy, strengthening education, air quality and supporting veterans.
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"We’ve had an incredible amount of support. We’ve got a strong campaign," McAleer said, adding that she is building a team with local and national political expertise.
She is competing against Peter Clemens, a North Ogden physician, for the party’s nomination. Clemens is 58 years old and is a wound-care specialist. Clemens said caucus meetings on Tuesday in Weber County were exciting and party members in that part of the congressional district are "very energized."
Clemens said he would work with people regardless of their political leanings, calling himself a "pragmatic, problem-solving person." Important issues in his campaign include being a responsible steward of the education system and the environment as well as job growth.
McAleer and Clemens will attempt to win the nomination at the state Democratic convention on April 26 in Salt Lake City. They must secure 60 percent of the convention delegates who live in the congressional district to win the nomination. If neither receives 60 percent of the convention vote, they will move to a June 24 primary to decide the party’s nominee.
Bishop is seeking his seventh term in Congress. In an email response to Park Record questions, Bishop said he worked well with former Park City Mayor Dana Williams and had held discussions with Jack Thomas, the mayor of Park City since January.
"Our office has a track record of working with the city, including success on things like preserving open space, and I’m confident that will continue," Bishop said.
Bishop said the 1st Congressional District is better off now than it was at the time of the last campaign two years ago as a result of cutting spending by the federal government and supporting district military installations, such as Hill Air Force Base.
"It doesn’t get the attention or coverage it deserves, but House Republicans have made historic progress in reducing spending. For the first time since the Korean War, we’ve cut total federal spending for two years in a row. That’s only a start but it’s real progress," Bishop said.
Chiu did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
Bishop and Chiu will face each other at the Republican state convention on April 26 in Sandy. One of them must receive at least 60 percent of the delegate vote to win the nomination. If neither does, they would move to a June 24 primary to decide the party’s nominee.