With the Republican nominations tucked safely away, some Davis County candidates are gearing up for several months of hand shaking and baby kissing. But in the race for Dan Eastman's Senate seat in District 23, what started out as an eight-person battle narrowed down to two -- Dan Liljenquist and Ron Mortensen. The Bountiful men will now meet each other again at a primary on June 24. Liljenquist came away with 55 percent and Mortensen had 45 percent after delegates voted at the Davis County Republican Party Nominating Convention held last Saturday April 12 at Woods Cross High School.
It was a packed house in the Woods Cross auditorium with a stage full of dignitaries including Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., Rep. Rob Bishop, Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.
Party Chair Ben Horsley started things off with a few light moments. "Yes, I am old enough to vote," quipped the youthful looking Horsley. "I was elected chair in an off year by some crazy people who hopefully you didn't vote for again."
Horsley made reference to some bad press he'd received over the past year but asked that party members put disagreements aside. "I hope we can come together and get back to what we stand for," said Horsley. "I want you to know that I am an equal opportunity offender."
Joking aside, Horsley introduced the candidates and others on stage, then turned the time over to Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.
Shurtleff addressed the recent Texas raids on the FLDS compound. "I've been getting criticism that we weren't tougher on polygamy here," said Shurtleff. "But we drove them out of Utah. We're also driving out meth labs. I'm going to battle with some nasty people. We will keep going after pornography too. I'm confident that righteousness will prevail."
Rep. Rob Bishop commented on the state of things in the nation's capital. "Some of you think we don't do much in Washington," said Bishop. "But given the present leadership (Democrats) it's best not to do anything. The last two votes I cast were to name two new post offices." Bishop finished to rousing applause when he declared he was proud to be a Republican.
Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert and Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. both talked about the success they had during their term in office. "I carried my goals in my pocket," said Huntsman. "We have had record tax cuts and record support for teachers. I'm a term limits guy but we have some ideas yet to go. We will keep doing what needs to be done to be successful. God bless the great state of Utah."
After listening to the speeches, delegates were left with the task of voting for candidates in each district. In addition to the District 23 race, West Point Mayor John Petroff defeated Barbara Riddle and Dave Harris for the Davis County Board of Commissioners seat while Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield topped Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams for District 14.
In the race for District 20, Paul A. Neuenschwander R-Bountiful is being challenged by Becky Edwards. But the candidate will not be decided until the state convention May 10 because the district spills over into Salt Lake County forcing a decision at the state level.
Reps. Paul Ray, R-Clinton; Kevin Garn, R-Layton; Doug Aagard, R-Kaysville; Roger Barrus, R-Centerville; Julie Fisher, R-Fruit Heights; and Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful are all running unopposed.