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Republican candidates vie for early support at fundraiser
by KRISTEN DANIEL
Jan 25, 2012 | 711 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jason Buck, 2nd Congressional District candidate, second from left, and his staff talk with Orrin Hatch challenger Dan Liljenquist.
Jason Buck, 2nd Congressional District candidate, second from left, and his staff talk with Orrin Hatch challenger Dan Liljenquist.
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CEDAR CITY – Casey Anderson, current State Senator for District 28, had a fundraiser in conjunction with three debates for Republican candidate hopefuls on Saturday at Southern Utah University’s Sharwan Smith Center.

United States Senate, Gubernatorial, and Congressional District 2 debates took place in the Sterling Church Auditorium, and were free to the public. A dinner followed, the proceeds of which went to Anderson’s re-election campaign.

A straw poll was conducted during dinner, and results were announced after as to who among the candidates won favor with the 110 attendees and local potential voters.

Anderson said he thought the event went extremely well and was pleased with the support of the candidates.

The newly-formed 2nd Congressional District, of which Iron County is a part, is an open seat in the coming election and has eight potential nominees, seven of which were present for the debate.

Jason Buck, former professional football player; David Clark, former State House Speaker; Cherilyn Eagar, conservative activist; Chris Stewart, lobbyist and United States Air Force veteran; Howard Wallack, retired trucking executive; and Chuck Williams, retired USAF officer and former police officer, were all in attendance. Only retired Naval officer and airline pilot John Willoughby was not present.

The vote was split in the evening’s straw poll, with Stewart and Wallack each receiving 31 percent.

Buck’s campaign manager, Barry Sawyer, said it was a goal in the party to have all four Republican congressman from Utah as Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson brought a different voice for the state when he was elected 12 years ago.

Wallack’s deputy campaign manager, Casey Jackson, has worked on other campaigns such as Sen. Mike Lee’s, and said it is impossible to tell how delegates are going to vote as most of them make up their mind on the convention floor. He repeated the general consensus of the other candidates that the field is wide open for Republican nominations.

Gov. Gary Herbert has three challengers from his own party for the highest state office. Gubernatorial candidates Morgan Philpot, defeated by Matheson in 2010 in a U.S. Congressional race, and current State Rep. Ken Sumsion shared their views in a two-person debate. Utah Tea Party Founder David Kirkham and Herbert were not present. The straw poll showed 83 percent for Philpot.

Philpot supporter Toby Emory said he would like to see a governor more willing to drive national discussion.

“Utah is a very red state,” he said. “So it has the opportunity to push a very conservative agenda without the fear of recall like what happened to Scott Walker.”

Sumsion, who was in charge of the redistricting committee, said he would like to see a governor who is willing to press the federal government on Eminent Domain issues and money owed to Utah concerning Public Trust Lands. He said as governor, he is willing to press a legal fight with the federal government.

Federal involvement with state issues and budget was a common theme among the candidates.

Philpot said Utah cannot consider itself financially solvent if it takes money from the federal government.

Orrin Hatch has six republican challengers for the U.S. Senate seat he has occupied since 1976. Loy “Arlan” Brunson, Kevin Fisk, Radio talk show host Tim Aalders, and former State Sen. Dan Liljenquist shared their views on why they thought there needed to be a change in Utah’s representation in the U.S. Senate. State Rep. Chris Herrod and Dale Ash were not present at the debate. Liljenquist won the evening’s straw poll with 73 percent of the vote.

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