No lack of choices on the Republican ticket
With the state caucuses only three weeks away, Republican delegates are faced with some tough choices due to the number of candidates who have filed to run for state and federal offices.
Ten Republican candidates have filed to run for the U.S. Senate Seat that Orrin Hatch has held since 1977. Three Republicans have filed to run for U.S. House District 1 and six have filed to run for governor. All these offices are currently held by Republicans.
At the caucuses, delegates vote on candidates that will appear on the November ballot. If a candidate receives more than 60 percent of the delegates’ votes they do not have to compete in a primary race in June.
At Summit County’s Republican Convention last week, Governor Gary Herbert, Hatch and other incumbents spoke of their experience, voting records and accomplishments while the new candidates stressed the necessity of new ideas in Washington, D.C., and the Utah Capitol.
Republican State Delegate Lisa Kirchenheiter said she has been getting a lot of automated phone calls from candidates touting their accomplishments. Rather than leaning toward the new or the old, Kirchenheiter said she is instead trying to focus on what groups are supporting each candidate.
"Every year you hear how it’s time for a change, but I am more focused on who is behind the candidate," she said. "You are known by your friends and, if the far right is supporting a candidate, that is less appealing to me. Are the people who are putting the money behind a candidate people I agree with?"
As far as giving Hatch the chance to run for one more term, Kirchenheiter said she is going to listen to her community and try to give a voice to those who are not delegates.
"Most of Utah is more moderate than he is and I want a candidate that is more attractive to the people in Utah whose voices aren’t being heard," she said.
Delegate Ron Boyer agrees, saying that due to the constant flux that Washington D.C. is in, it may not be smart to send back the same person.
"The race is very full, so I have been trying to take my time, research each candidate and attend the meetings where they speak," Boyer said. "You often need to have more than one choice because, if your pick is voted out on the first round of voting, then you need to be informed about the next guy you want. I don’t know if Orrin Hatch will make it through all the votes, that is going to be a tough one. I can’t really complain about Herbert. Who knows, maybe a new guy could do better, though."
Nan Tibbits said this is her third time being a Republican state delegate and she is hoping her neighbors give her guidance on whom to vote for.
"I told my neighbors, when they voted for me to become a delegate, I would not make the decision until we made it together," she said. "People in our party seem to be really split on new versus old as far as candidates go. Orrin Hatch has a lot of power so some people want him to stay while a lot of other people are saying he hasn’t done enough and want someone new and energized in there. When I talked to everyone on the night of the County Caucus it was almost exactly 50/50 on if they wanted Hatch back."
Tibbits said, so far, she has been ignoring the ads that are sent to her by the candidates and is looking into their voting records and history instead.
The Republican State Convention is April 21 at the South Towne Expo Center. The Democratic State Convention is April 20 and 21 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Info Box:Primary Possibilities
U.S. Senator (6–Year Term)
Timothy Aalders Bill Donald Peterson II
Dan Liljenquist Pete Ashdown
Christopher Herrod Scott Howell
David Y Chiu
Kevin D. Fisk
U.S. House District 1 (2–Year Term)
Leonard Joe Fabiano Donna McAleer
Rob Bishop Ryan Combe
Kenneth W. Sumsion
Gary R. Herbert
William E. Skokos
Representative District 53
John B. Zimmerman
Melvin R. Brown
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