Utah Republican legislative candidates advance out of state convention

Apr 27, 2024, 1:14 PM | Updated: 3:17 pm

Utah Republican legislative candidates advanced in several races during the state GOP convention Sa...

Utah Republican legislative candidates advanced in several races during the state GOP convention Saturday (Daniel Woodruff, KSL)

(Daniel Woodruff, KSL)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Republican legislative candidates advanced in several races during the state GOP convention Saturday.

At the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, delegates began the 2024 nominating convention by first gathering in breakout sessions to vote in a handful of Utah House and Senate districts that span multiple counties.

State Senate District 8

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, will face a primary election after failing to get enough votes to win the GOP nomination outright.

Weiler got around 53% of the delegate vote, compared to around 47% for Ronald Mortensen, a retired foreign service officer.

Even though he got the most votes, Weiler was already assured a spot on the primary ballot because he gathered signatures. The incumbent state senator has served since 2012 representing Davis and Salt Lake counties and is currently battling cancer.

State Senate District 22

Just months after winning a special election to represent parts of Utah and Salt Lake counties in the Utah Senate, Sen. Heidi Balderree, R-Saratoga Springs, earned the support of delegates to move forward to a primary election as she seeks her first full term.

Balderree received more than 70% of the vote, the highest of the three Republicans seeking the seat. Emily Lockhart, a Lehi planning commissioner and daughter of late Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, received nearly 30%.

During the first round of voting, there was some intrigue. Lockhart and Garrett Cammans, a businessman and entrepreneur, each received 22.38% of the vote. So, a coin flip sent Lockhart forward to the second round of voting, while Cammans was eliminated.

However, because both Lockhart and Cammans previously gathered signatures, all three will appear on the primary ballot. No other candidates from other parties are running for the seat.

State Senate District 24

In Senate District 24, which spans Utah and Wasatch counties, three Republican candidates sought to replace longtime Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, who originally filed to run for a seventh term but later withdrew from the race.

Those candidates included former state senator Dan Hemmert, former state representative Brad Daw, and Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, who is currently serving in the Utah House.

After two rounds of voting, Stratton and Hemmert both advanced to the primary election with Daw being eliminated. However, Stratton and Hemmert had already gathered signatures to qualify for the June ballot.

The winner of the GOP primary will face David Hinckley, a Utah Forward candidate, in the general election.

State House District 12

Utah House Speaker Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, cruised to the Republican nomination, earning more than 70% of the vote against challenger Korry Green. He will not face a primary election but will face Democrat Sharon Hilton in the general election.

Schultz has led the House of Representatives since late last year when Brad Wilson stepped down to run for U.S. Senate. His district covers parts of Davis and Weber counties.

State House District 66

Three Republicans jumped into the race to replace Rep. Steven Lund, R-Manti, who represents Juab and Sanpete counties and is not running for re-election.

After voting Saturday, Troy Shelley and Brian Nielson both emerged to face each other in the Republican primary election in June.

Shelley, a volunteer EMT and former Sanpete County Republican chair, got 58% of the vote. Nielson, who led the Utah Department of Corrections until stepping down last year, got 42%.

A third candidate, Linda Hanks, was eliminated.

No one else from another party is running for the seat, so the Republican primary will determine who will win this seat.

State House District 67

An incumbent state representative from central Utah lost the delegate vote soundly Saturday but will still advance to the primary election.

Rep. Christine Watkins, R-Price, received just over 12% compared to more than 87% for Thomas Hansen, a teacher and small business owner.

Yet, Watkins had previously gathered signatures and will still move forward to the primary.

The winner of the primary will face Joe Christman, a Democrat, in the general election.

State House District 68

Rep. Scott Chew, R-Jensen, won the Republican nomination, defeating Kenyen Wilkins with more than 70% of the vote.

There is no other candidate in the race, so Chew – who has served in the Legislature since 2015 – will get another term representing northeastern Utah.

State House District 69

In the district representing southeastern Utah, two candidates advanced to the primary election.

Lynn Jackson, former Grand County commissioner, was the top vote-getter with 56%, although he had previously gathered signatures to qualify for the primary ballot.

Also advancing to the primary was Logan Monson, the mayor of Blanding, who is also a nurse administrator and registered nurse.

A third candidate, Douglas Heaton, was eliminated during the convention voting.

The winning Republican candidate will face Democrat Davina Smith in the general election.

The seat is currently held by Rep. Phil Lyman, R-Blanding, who decided not to seek another term in favor of running for governor.

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Utah Republican legislative candidates advance out of state convention