Stage is set for Election Day
The stage is set for a woman in Park City to challenge Rep. Mel Brown, the powerful Coalville Republican who once served as speaker of the House.
At the Democratic nominating convention Saturday in Salt Lake City, Park Meadows resident Kathy Lofft garnered 86 percent of the votes from delegates to defeat Wasatch County resident Ryan Jensen in the race to replace Brown.
Lofft said she hopes to defeat Brown in November by painting the Republican as a person out of touch with voters in House District 53.
She would push for ethics reform on Capitol Hill if elected to the Statehouse.
"One of the things that is striking to me is the relative lack of ethics legislation and the lack of ethical framework for decision making," Lofft said in a telephone interview. "Our conflict-of-interest laws are deficient in many ways."
Utah needs an "independent ethics commission" to investigate violations by lawmakers, she added.
"This is something that the public has been polled on and has resoundingly indicated that they support," Lofft said.
Meanwhile, at Saturday’s GOP nominating convention in Orem, Sen. Allen Christensen, a North Ogden Republican who represents eastern Summit County, avoided a primary election by getting 74 percent of the votes against Morgan County Republican Alvin Lundgren.
"If you take things for granted, you become an ex-politician," Christensen said about trouncing Lundgren in the intra-party contest.
The senator is slated to face North Ogden Democrat Bill Hansen in the general election Nov. 4.
"Bill Hansen has run several races and has been defeated in all of them," said Christensen. "He is a Democrat in a Republican-strong area."
Christensen was criticized this year for voting against Senate Bill 81, which is legislation some view as anti-immigrant.
"I’m not pro illegal immigration by any stance," Christensen explained. "But I’m also not pro rushing into something and then coming back and redoing it after the damage is done. We’ve had enough of that."
The senator will discuss health care and the economy on the campaign trail.
"I love the idea of government being a mediator in the middle of [health care] but not a provider," Christensen said, adding that he will "fight socialized medicine every step of the way."
But insurance companies and hospitals need more "openness," he said.
"We need to start working a little less for the profit and more for the people," Christensen added. "Let’s let free enterprise keep going with a little encouragement from government."
Despite looming recession, the economy in Utah remains strong, claimed the senator in a telephone interview.
"We’re still growing and we’re going to have another surplus this year," Christensen said.
Other candidates nominated at conventions Saturday include:
Democrat Bob Springmeyer will face Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. for the top executive post in the state. Dell Schanze is running for governor as a member of the Libertarian Party.
Democrat Josie Valdez was nominated as a candidate for lieutenant governor to go against GOP Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, a Republican, faces challenges from Democrat Jean Welch Hill and Libertarian W. Andrew McCullough.
Democrats nominated Morgan Bowen to campaign against incumbent Congressman Rob Bishop, a Republican who represents Summit County in Utah’s First Congressional District. Joseph Geddes Buchman is a Libertarian campaigning for the seat. Kirk Pearson is campaigning for the post as a member of the Constitution Party.
Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, represents areas of the Snyderville Basin and faces a challenge from Republican Garrett Clark. Clark Miles is campaigning for the seat as a member of the Constitution Party.
A head-on collision Thursday morning on Brown’s Canyon Road killed the driver of one vehicle and left another driver with critical injuries.