With Herbert, Utah GOP cements reputation for opposing incumbents

Posted at 6:14 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-25 20:14:15-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Republican Party is cementing its reputation for being very tough on its own most established elected officials.

In the last eight years, four popular statewide incumbents have either been defeated or forced into a primary at the State Party Nominating Convention.

In 2008, Gov. Olene Walker lost a convention vote to former Utah House Speaker Nolan Karras, and former ambassador to Singapore Jon Huntsman Jr.

In 2010, Sen. Bob Bennett lost to businessman Tim Bridgewater and attorney Mike Lee.

In 2012, Sen. Orrin Hatch was forced into a contentious primary with former State Sen. Dan Liljenquist.

Now, Gov. Gary Herbert will face Jonathon Johnson, chairman of, in a June 28 primary.

Like Hatch, the governor is a strong favorite going into the primary, with a 77 percent approval rating and a campaign bank account that dwarfs Johnson’s.

Herbert’s campaign reported over $780,000 in cash on hand during the last reporting period ending April 13.

In the same reporting period, Johnson’s campaign reported $11,000 left in their account.