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WILL NIELSON ENDORSE SNOW FOR 3RD DISTRICT?

Retiring Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, will apparently do what he earlier pledged not to do: endorse a candidate to replace him before the Republican primary.

Nielson and Republican candidate Karl Snow planned a joint press conference in Washington Thursday morning.No official reason for the press conference was given Wednesday, although staff for both Nielson and Snow said privately that it will be to announce Nielson's endorsement of Snow.

Snow finished second in a field of six Republicans seeking the 3rd District nomination at last Saturday's State Republican Convention. He had 175 delegate votes compared with 200 votes for first-place finisher John Harmer. Harmer and Snow will face each other in a primary.

Nielson earlier this year pledged not to endorse any candidate in what had been a crowded field of Republicans until after a primary. His reason for changing now is unknown. Previously, he had attacked only one Republican whom he did not like, former Utah County Commissioner Brent Morris - who was eliminated at the convention.

Snow, a Brigham Young University administrator and former legislator, is considered to be more moderate than Harmer, chairman of Eyring Inc. and director of the conservative National Center for Constitutional Studies founded by W. Cleon Skousen.

Harmer was also attacked before the convention for recent lawsuits, former bankruptcy and living outside the 3rd District, in Bountiful, although he plans to move soon to Provo. He defended himself against those charges at the convention in what the press described as "an impressive, even evangelical" speech.