Both Dan Marriott and Genevieve Atwood believe they're the one to beat Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah .
But Marriott wants only true-blue Republicans voting in the Sept. 11 GOP primary; Atwood wants anyone voting for her who will stick with her against Owens in November.Marriott and Atwood addressed the Elephant Club on Wednesday, the Republican heavy-hitter fund-raising organization meeting in the Little America Hotel.
Clearly, they had nothing good to say about Owens, who has held the 2nd District seat since 1986, even though the district is 2-1 Republican.
But they took some swipes at each other, as well.
"I've won this district before," said Marriott. "No one else in this room (looking at Atwood) can say that. I won't let you (Republicans) down."
Marriott held the 2nd District seat from 1976-1984, when he left Congress to run unsuccessfully for governor. However, the district was reapportioned for the 1982 election. Marriott beat Democrat Frances Farley by about 6 percentage points in the redrawn 2nd District in 1982..
"This district is changing," Atwood said, and old faces won't beat Owens in 1990. "We must have the independent, moderate Republican vote. I can get that vote. Let's remember our goal: beat Wayne Owens, not to decide who is a `pure' Republican."
Said Marriott: "Against Owens it will be my (congressional) record against his record. Not his record against (Atwood's) rhetoric. Rhetoric won't beat Wayne. Negative advertising won't beat him."
The issue of who votes in the GOP primary became even more important this week when the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll showed that among those who say they're Republicans, Marriott leads Atwood 46 percent to 27 percent. But among all 2nd District citizens, Atwood leads Marriott 37 percent to 31 percent. Any registered voter can vote in any party's primary.
"We beat Wayne Owens not by becoming what the independents want us to become," said Marriott. "We beat him by bringing all Republicans together and then getting 10-20 percent of the independent/Democratic vote. I can do that. I've done that in this district before. I've never lost in the district. Genevieve has never won."
Atwood said she proved in her Utah House races on the Avenues in the 1970s that she draws independent and Democratic votes. "I'm a moderate Republican." She argues that independent and Democratic voters who vote for her in the GOP primary will stay with her against Owens in November.
"That is total nonsense," said Marriott. "Owens' camp is tickled pink that I didn't 70-percent Genevieve in the (Republican) convention. (Candidates who receive 70 percent of delegates at party conventions are nominated without a primary.) Movement is there, believe me it is, within the Democratic Party to have people cross over and vote for Genevieve in the primary, then go back to Wayne in the general election."
On other issues, Marriott said he supports 1 million to 1.5 million acres of wilderness in Utah, much less than Owens' 5 million acres. Atwood said she supports about 2 million acres.
Marriott said he'll vote for any constitutional amendment limiting abortion, that he opposes abortion except to save a mother's life and in cases of rape or incest.
Atwood said she opposes abortion except in the cases life or health of the mother, rape, incest or severe fetal deformity. "I won't vote for a constitutional amendment unless those exceptions are included," she said.