Political candidate filing day ends as GOP caucuses begin

Posted at 7:23 PM, Mar 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-03-15 21:23:22-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The deadline has passed and the fields are now set in stone for Utah’s 2012 political races.

It has been known that Republicans would be fighting for the U.S. Senate nomination.  Turns out the Democrats have a fight on their hands as well.

He is a major Democrat with a surprise entry on the last day of filing. Former State Senate Minority Leader Scott Howell will seek the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

“This is such a precarious time with what’s happening in the political arena. The bigger issue to me is that people need to know what I stand for and who I am. I don't care whether they're Republican, Democratic or Independent,” said Howell.

Howell was hardly alone. Salt lake City council member Soren Simonsen will challenge Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz for the 3rd Congressional District.

And Eureka Mayor Milt Hanks will join a crowded Republican field in the 2nd District.

Simonsen was inspired by Tuesday’s Democratic caucuses.

“I saw such a groundswell of enthusiasm for the values that the Democratic Party brings into the picture, values of family, values of stewardship, values of cooperation,” said Simonsen.

Mayor Hanks says the extremes of both parties have been the problem that has bogged down the political process.

“If we just agree on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, something has to happen, we're in a deadlock. They keep sending far left, we keep sending far right, who won't listen. It's time both sides got together and did the people's business instead of the party's business,” said Hanks.

Serious party business heats up Thursday night at 7 p.m. as Republicans head to their caucus meetings.