Even though Thursday's Summit County Republican convention only voted on two county races, many candidates for federal, state and county positions addressed delegates, with some running unopposed within the GOP and others seeking to gain support for their nominations at the state convention.
The evening kicked off at 6 p.m. in the South Summit High School auditorium with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert making a speech in which he praised Utah conservative values and hailed the state as being a paragon for other states, especially its ability to promote economic development.
Summit County's state delegates also spoke, including Sens. Kevin Van Tassell (R-Dist. 26) and Allen Christensen (R-19) and Reps. Kraig Powell (R-54), Melvin Brown (R-53).
Neither Van Tassell's Republican challenger, Susan Hacking Horrocks, nor Powell's, Wylder Smith, spoke at Thursday's convention. Brown's two in-party rivals Blaine Hone and John Zimmerman did speak.
Hone, a Morgan resident, said he is a "simple man with a simple agenda: simple government." As a state representative, he emphasized he would focus on land, labor and men and expressed concern for what he sees as the broadening scope of the federal government.
"We have a representative in office serve for more than 20 years and he's done a fine job," Hone said. "But we need more than just a fine job in office, we need energy for freedom."
Zimmerman, from Wanship, said he respects the work that Brown has done but that other candidates need a turn in the Legislature.
"If the Legislature was a basketball team, we'd hoist [Brown's] jersey up into the back corner of the Legislature and respect him from then on," Zimmerman said. "But you can't spend 26 years in the Legislature and not give other talented people a turn."
When Brown spoke earlier, he touted that he has been heavily involved in helping to craft and balance the state's budget, but also expressed a warning for the future demands that population growth will have, which he said is expected to double in the next 35 years.
Representing the lone Republican challenger to U.S. House District 1 Rep. Rob Bishop, David Yu-Lin Chiu told delegates that he is a conservative, which he said is about "preserving freedom." Although he added that he identifies with politicians like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Jason Chaffetz, Chiu said those men have been able to do a lot in a little amount of time.
"I do believe that, while the Founders did not designate a limit to the number of terms for federal office, there has become a way of doing business that makes extended incumbency the mother of all other special interests," Chiu said.
A number of Republicans not facing in-party challengers in the county also spoke, including County Council member Dave Ure, Gary Shumway (running for auditor), Amy Yost (vying for treasurer), Nick Coleman (running for clerk) and Summit County Attorney David Brickey, who will face Democrat and former Third District Judge Robert Hilder.
"For the first time in 10 years, I have a challenger," Brickey said. "That opponent is a worthy opponent, but he is also a very different opponent."
With the county convention complete, Summit County Republicans now await the state GOP convention, which will be held at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy on Saturday, April 26. There, nominees for federal and state offices will be selected.