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County conventions end in primary races for some Utah politicians

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Posted at 11:01 AM, Apr 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-10 18:03:16-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The weekend's county political conventions resulted in some primary races across the state.

The Salt Lake County Republican Party's convention on Saturday featured a lot of talk about election security. Yet the convention itself was hit with accusations of fraud when two delegates attempted to vote multiple times in the race for county clerk, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. The delegates were ousted from the convention and stripped of their positions within the party and it did not affect the outcome, the Tribune reported. Goud Maragani defeated Nancy Lord and will move on to face Lannie Chapman, the Democratic candidate for clerk. The seat is open after longtime Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen announced her retirement.

Salt Lake County Republican delegates voted to send Rep. Susan Pulsipher into a primary election against former representative Rich Cunningham for the seat representing the South Jordan area. Rep. Jeff Stenquist lost at convention against Carolyn Phippen in the race to represent a seat in the Draper area, but will advance to the primary election because he gathered signatures.

County Councilmember Steve DeBry lost at convention against Sheldon Stewart. However, Councilmember DeBry will still be in the primary because he gathered signatures. Reps. Candice Pierucci, R-Herriman, and Judy Weeks-Rohner, R-West Valley City, emerged as the winners.

The Salt Lake County Democratic Party's convention also saw some big shifts. Nate Blouin defeated incumbent Sen. Gene Davis, but both candidates advance to the primary because they gathered signatures. Incumbent Sen. Derek Kitchen was also defeated by Dr. Jennifer Plumb, but both candidates also gathered signatures to earn a spot on the primary ballot.

Musician and victim's rights advocate Deondra Brown won the convention nomination in the race to represent the Millcreek area. She will face Rep. Stephanie Pitcher, who also gathered signatures for the Democratic primary. Both are seeking to replace Sen. Jani Iwamoto, who is retiring.

Fatima Dirie and Jana Nordfelt will advance to a primary for the Democratic nomination to represent a swing district in the West Valley City area. Sophia Hawes-Tingey was eliminated at the convention. Whomever emerges from the primary will face incumbent Rep. Judy Weeks-Rohner.

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, easily defeated her intraparty challenger, Jonathan Paz (who only garnered one vote in the race).

The Utah County Republican Party convention saw more incumbents forced into primaries. Delegates only gave 10% of the vote to incumbent County Attorney David Leavitt, but he gathered signatures and will face Adam Pomeroy and Jeff Gray in the June primary.

Commissioner Bill Lee will face Brandon Gordon in a primary. Commissioner Amelia Powers Gardner will face Renee Tribe in the June primary. Incumbent Provo-area Sen. Keith Grover will face a primary race against Brandon Beckham.

In Washington County, Republican delegates sent incumbent Rep. Travis Seegmiller, R-St. George, into a primary against Colin Jack. Rep. Seegmiller has faced poaching charges. He will also face a primary against Nina Barnes.

Neil Walter and Kristy Pike will advance to the June primary (Walter won at convention, Pike gathered signatures) to replace retiring Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara. Willie Billings, the convention nominee, and Joe Elison, who gathered signatures, will also face a primary election in the race to replace retiring Rep. Brad Last, R-Hurricane.

To vote in the closed GOP primary, voters must be a registered Republican. The Democratic primary is open.

Note: FOX 13 and The Salt Lake Tribune are in a news-sharing partnership.