Republican newcomer forces incumbent into a primary
A Wanship Republican trounced incumbent state Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville, at the state convention for the Utah Republican Party.
In delegate voting Saturday morning, North Summit newcomer Jon Hellander defeated Brown 33-25. The vote sets the stage this summer for a Republican primary election in the race for state House District 53, which includes most of Summit County.
Hellander needed about two more votes to defeat Brown at Saturday’s convention and receive the GOP nomination, according to Summit County Republican Party Chairman Henry Glasheen.
A candidate who receives 60 percent of the votes from delegates avoids a primary and becomes the Republican nominee for the November election. Hellander received nearly 57 percent of the votes on Saturday.
"I will stand and fight for limited government," Hellander told delegates.
Some of the delegates apparently agreed with Hellander, who claimed that Brown is not conservative enough.
Brown, a former speaker of the state House of Representatives, told delegates his seniority on Capitol Hill is critical in fighting for the issues important to voters in Summit County.
"It’s a process that takes some understanding," Brown said. "It’s a process that takes some tenure."
Meanwhile, there was tension Saturday between Hellander and Glasheen. Glasheen has endorsed Brown in the Republican contest.
Glasheen and Hellander were seen arguing at the Salt Palace Convention Center.
Hellander told The Park Record that GOP officials should remain neutral in the race.
State Rep. Ken Sumsion, a Republican, nominated Hellander at Saturday’s convention.
Sumsion criticized Glasheen in an interview at the convention.
"The chairman of the GOP party is supposed to stay neutral, certainly publicly," Sumsion said.
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