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Tuesday is primary election day in Utah - arguably the largest primary contest in recent memory.

All Utahns registered to vote can pick between Republican and Democratic races for governor, U.S. Senate and attorney general.Those picking GOP ballots will also have a race in the 2nd Congressional District in Salt Lake County.

County residents also have a race for county commissioner in both major parties.

It's a full slate of candidates - all told about 250 statewide when you throw in other county commissions, legislative and school board candidates.

So, who does your intrepid political editor believe will win?

The following are my guesses - read that with capital letters - GUESSES of who will be victorious Tuesday. These are NOT endorsements or recommendations on whom to vote for. Neither I nor the Deseret News endorses candidates.

U.S. Senate

Republican Joe Cannon has spent more than $4.6 million, most of it his own money, on the race. Bob Bennett has spent nearly $2 million. The race has been closing. I guess Cannon will win, but it could be by two or three percentage points.

Negative campaigning has a strange, unpredictable effect in Utah. Accordingly, the Democratic Senate race between Doug Anderson and Wayne Owens is in flux. Conventional wisdom says Owens should win, and I pick him. But watch out for Anderson. Negative campaigning and an anti-incumbency movement could provide the biggest upset in recent Utah political history.


It appears that Republican Mike Leavitt's campaign has been steadily moving ahead of party colleague Richard Eyre. Leavitt has more GOP endorsements and has outspent Eyre nearly two-to-one. I pick Leavitt.

Democrat Pat Shea has taken a moderate approach to his race against Stewart Hanson - who has made a concerted effort to appeal to the women's vote. I pick Shea.

2nd Congressional District

Enid Greene finished first in the state GOP convention and hasn't looked back at colleague Jim Bartleson since. She appears to have a better organization and more money. Bartleson will appeal to the more conservative element in the party, but with a decent voter turnout Tuesday, Greene should have no problems. I pick Greene.

Attorney general

Recent polling shows that most Utahns don't know these guys - not the Republicans, Scott Burns and Michael Deamer, not the Democrats, Jan Graham and Scott Daniels. Both these races are up for grabs. However, Daniels certainly had his character questioned this week by Attorney General Paul Van Dam. That can't help his cause. And Graham is a woman, which could help her in this political "Year of the Woman," especially if voters know little or nothing about her.

A number of Utahns may get a shock when they walk into the polling booth Tuesday. As has always been the case, under Utah law you can only vote in one party's primary. Lt. Gov. Val Oveson says a lot of people are just finding that out this year because of the number of primary candidates.

Each ballot will have all the parties and their primary races on it. But you can only vote for Republicans, or Democrats or some other party with a primary. You can't split-ticket vote - vote Republican in one race, Democrat in another - in a primary like you can in a general election.

If you want to vote in the Republican U.S. Senate race, for example, you can't then vote in the Democratic governor's race. You must vote Republican in the other races as well. The reverse is true as well; those who want to vote in the Democratic Senate race can only vote Democratic on the rest of the races.

In any case, make sure you vote.

We're picking our next governor, U.S. senator, attorney general and a lot of other important officers who will have an impact on our lives.