Incumbent throttles his opponent in Summit County
State Rep. Mel Brown, a longtime Republican Party loyalist, won the GOP’s nomination in District 53 of the House of Representatives Tuesday night, beating back a challenge from the party’s far right.
In the Republican primary, Brown, of Coalville, received 55 percent of the votes to defeat Wanship resident Jon Hellander. Brown trounced Hellander in Summit County, where the incumbent received 1,052 votes. Only 588 people in Summit County voted for Hellander.
District 53 includes portions of Summit, Wasatch, Daggett, Rich and Morgan Counties.
Hellander, a Tea Party favorite, claimed he was the most conservative candidate in the race. He received financial support from the Friends of Carl Wimmer PAC. Wimmer is a Republican state representative who is helping lead a new wave of ultra-conservatism on Capitol Hill.
"They’re trying to build an army for votes and they’re looking at Jon Hellander as a good prospect for that army because he doesn’t really know what’s going on," Brown said.
Brown said he has angered some conservatives on Capitol Hill by crossing the aisle to work with Democrats on important legislation.
"You have a responsibility to make government work," Brown said. "If you’re nothing but an obstructionist, tell me what you are you going to get done?"
On the West Side of Summit County, Brown defeated Hellander in Deer Valley, Old Town, Prospector and Quarry Mountain. Support for Hellander on the West Side came from voting precincts in Thaynes Canyon, Park Meadows, Silver Creek and Jeremy Ranch.
In eastern Summit County, Brown defeated Hellander in Kamas, Marion, Oakley and Peoa. Hellander received support on the East Side from voters in Woodland, Wanship and Francis.
Brown received 64 percent of the votes in Summit County.
"We’ve been able to generate enough money through donations to put on a pretty viable campaign," Brown said. "Without question, I’ve done more in this campaign than I have done in any previous one."
Seven days before the June 22 primary, Brown had spent about $9,644.
"You have to decide whether experience and knowledge are as valuable as somebody who just says, ‘I’m new, and I want to try it and I believe in the Constitution,’" Brown said.
Brown will face Park City Democrat Glenn Wright in the November general election.
Meanwhile, in the Democratic primary in District 25 of the state House of Representatives, Salt Lake City resident Joel Briscoe received 55 percent of the votes to outpace Salt Lake City resident Anthony Kaye.
District 25 includes voters in Salt Lake and Summit counties. Only two votes separated the candidates in the Snyderville Basin where Briscoe received 167 votes and Kaye received 165.
Kaye defeated Briscoe in ParkWest and Silver Springs while support for Briscoe came from Pinebrook and Summit Park.
Mike Lee defeated Tim Bridgewater on Tuesday to receive the Republican nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate. But 55 percent of the voters in Summit County chose Bridgewater.
On Election Day, Lee will take on Democrat Sam Granato. The winner in November will replace Sen. Bob Bennett, a Republican.
The margins in two contests in the North and South Summit school districts were slim with several possible provisional and absentee ballots left to be counted. The election canvass to determine the official results is scheduled on Wednesday in Coalville.
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