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For the second time in less than a week, a Republican candidate has dropped out of a local political race and announced support for a fellow candidate.

Carol Thorne, selected at Saturday's Utah County GOP central committee meeting to face County Commissioner Gary Herbert in a September primary, withdrew from the race Wednesday. Her decision follows county GOP Chairman Wayne Watson's weekend announcement that he was withdrawing from the race for county attorney."I am convinced that Commissioner Gary Herbert will provide dedicated, professional leadership that will lead this county in a positive direction into the '90s," Thorne said. "For that purpose, I am removing myself as a candidate and giving my support to Commissioner Gary Herbert."

Thorne's announcement means Herbert will advance directly to the general election this fall against Democrat George Tripp, former mayor of Lehi, in a bid for the final two years of former Commissioner Brent Morris' seat.

"She (Thorne) is a tough candidate, and it would have been a tough race," Herbert said following Thorne's announcement at a press conference in the Utah County Commission Chambers.

"She's demonstrated here today that she's willing to put, I think, the needs of the people, county government and the Republican Party ahead of her own personal gratification. I've known Carol a number of years, and I find her to be a very principled individual and a great friend, and she would have been a great county commissioner."

Herbert said Thorne's decision will allow him to concentrate more on commission work this fall because now he has to prepare for only one race rather than two.

County Commissioners Malcolm Beck and Sid Sandberg last month selected Herbert to replace Morris for the remainder of the year. Morris resigned in keeping with a 3rd District congressional campaign promise.

Thorne, who has been active for years in community affairs, said she originally decided to run for commissioner "because of what I viewed as a serious lack of leadership and respect for county government."

Thorne said she and Herbert share similar political philosophies and that they support broadening of the county tax base through economic development.

Regarding her political future, Thorne said, "I can't say about future races, but you'll see me involved. That's for sure."