Salt Lake County GOP Commissioner Bart Barker will have a primary race against fellow Republican Henry Hilton, delegates to the Salt Lake County GOP Convention decided Saturday.
It's a bit of an upset for Hilton, owner of a local radio station. Not since the current all-Republican commission, made up of Barker, Tom Shimizu and Mike Stewart, first was elected in the early 1980s have any of the three incumbents had to face a primary. Many expected Hilton to be eliminated in the convention.Barker received 1,031 votes to Hilton's 528 votes - 66 percent to 34 percent. It takes 70 percent of the delegate vote to eliminate a challenger at a party convention, and Barker fell just short of that requirement, so the two will square off in a Sept. 11 primary.
That wasn't the only surprise Saturday.
Gov. Norm Bangerter was booed by some of the 1,560 delegates when, in his convention keynote speech, he spoke against removing the sales tax from food. Some delegates also cheered the governor's sales tax stand. But it is unusual for a sitting politician, especially a sitting governor, to be booed in his own party's convention. A flier titled "We need the tax fighting Republican Spirit! Let's not fall for another Norm Bangerter snow job" was passed out to delegates on their way in to Highland High School's auditorium.
Also, opponents to County Recorder Katie Dixon's candidacy said she'd mismanaged her office and didn't come to work regularly - harsh accusations against a 16-year incumbent by fellow Republicans. Dixon finished second behind Nancy Workman, and the two will face each other in the primary, Sept. 11.
The largest applause of the day came for Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller, who nominated Barker. After Miller waved the crowd to silence, someone yelled, "Run for governor." Responded Miller: "If I do, shoot me."
Bangerter boldly argued his points on why voters should reject the removal of the food tax. "Education will be addressed this November, properly so, when we're asked if we can reduce state revenues by $90 million and local government revenues by $20 million (cheers in favor of sales tax off food). I will not vote for that (boos and some cheers). I won't tell you how to vote. But I will give you facts, realities, that must be dealt with."
First, said Bangerter, Utah spends less per student and has the largest class size in America. "We don't spend too much on education." Second, Utahns pay more of their income per capita in support of education than citizens in any other state.
"I won't shrink from calling it as I see it. I don't like taxes, but we have to provide services. I can cut $90 million. We'd survive. But that's only dealing with half of the equation," the other half being the programs cut because of the loss of revenue.
The platform adopted by county GOP delegates Saturday doesn't mention the food tax. And GOP State Chairman Richard Snelgrove predicts state delegates won't take a stand on the food tax when they meet in two weeks.
In his convention address, Barker said citizens experimented with electing a Democrat four years ago when Dave Watson won a commission seat. "We had two years of political disaster." Watson resigned from the commission after pleading guilty to misdemeanor alcohol and drug charges. "Now we have two of his (Watson's) cronies running." Democrat Jim Bradley is running for Barker's seat, and former Democratic Party chairman Randy Horiuchi is running against Shimizu.
"I'll listen to your problems," promised Hilton, who ran unsuccessfully for the commission during the 1970s. "And together, we'll work to solve those problems. Unlike Bart, I don't want to spend $62 million of your money on Salt Palace renovation. We don't need to spend that much."
Shimizu ran unopposed within his party. He said compared to Horiuchi, he appears soft-spoken, but he was elected to work, not talk. "I learned as a farmer many years ago, you can't talk a crop out of the field, you have to work it out."
Here are the convention results. Candidates in bold were either nominated without opposition, eliminated challengers with 70 percent of the vote or face each other in a primary election:
Salt Lake County Commission seat `A' - Bart Barker, 1,031, 66%; Henry Hilton, 528, 34%.
Commission seat `B' - Tom Shimizu.
County attorney - Mark E. Anderson.
County assessor - Robert L. Yates.
County clerk - H. Dixon Hindley.
County auditor - Craig B. Sorensen.
County recorder - Katie L. Dixon, 505; Nancy Workman, 595; Bradley A. Snow, 464.
County sheriff - Aaron D. Kennard; Duane H. Sutherland (withdrew).
County surveyor - Robert R. Smeltzer.
County treasurer - Bob Copier.
District 1 - David Fiske.
District 3 - Richard Carling.
District 4 - Richard Tempest.
District 7 - Ronald Ockey, 143, 73%; Truman Clawson, 54, 27%; Jan L. Mackey (withdrew).
District 9 - Lorin Pace, 75, 48%; Delpha A. Baird, 82, 52%; Richard C. Bennion (withdrew).
District 10 - Aronld Christensen.
District 11 - Joseph Stumph.
District 12 - Bill Barton.
District 22 - no Republican filed.
District 23 - Marianne Stoddard.
District 24 - no Republican filed.
District 25 - no Republican filed.
District 26 - M.R. `Doc' Weiler.
District 27 - Lynn Price, 19; Edward S. Crawford, 5; Kimball Young, 45.
District 28 - Afton Bradshaw.
District 29 - no Republican filed.
District 30 - Nathan Drage, 13, 29%; Glen Cahoon, 32, 71%.
District 31 - Jerrold S. Jensen; David Cundick (withdrew).
District 32 - D. Wayne Rose.
District 33 - Phil Uipi, 33; Robert F. Babcock, 34; Gary B. Hansen, 0; Don Choquette, 3; J. Preston Hughes, 16.
District 34 - David Lingard (withdrew); David Wall (withdrew); Tom Breitling (withdrew); Ray Short.
District 35 - Reese Hunter.
District 36 - Ted Woolley, 35; George I. Brown, 21.
District 37 - David S. Ostler.
District 38 - Melvin R. Brown.
District 39 - Conrad Maxfield, 22; Irby Arrington, 45.
District 40 - Jed W. Wasden.
District 41 - Richard J. Bradford, 55, 74%; John E. Arrington, 19, 26%.
District 42 - Gerald Arnold (withdrew); Clark Reber.
District 43 - H. Craig Moody.
District 44 - R. Mont Evans.
District 45 - Lloyd Frandsen.
District 46 - Bruce Wasden.
District 47 - Michael Waddoups.
District 48 - Royce A. Gibson.
District 49 - Richard H. McAffee, 18; Clay I Petersen Jr., 24.
District 50 - Mitchell Barker; Brent Ursenbach (withdrew).
District 51 - Hugh D. Rush.
District 52 - Dub Richards.
District 53 - no Republican filed.
S.L. County Republicans
During the annual Salt Lake County GOP convention on Saturday:
- Some delegates booed Gov. Norm Bangerter for his stand against eliminating sales tax on food.
- Henry Hilton received enough votes to force County Commissioner Bart Barker into a primary election for the first time in 10 years.
- County Recorder Katie Dixon finished second in delegate voting and will face Nancy Workman in a primary.
- In debates on the platform, delegates refusing to oppose the sale of assault rifles, refusing to oppose discrimination of Vietnam veterans and refusing to soften their already tough stand on abortion.