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DAVIS GOP PLANS ETHICS PROBE OF LYON’S PRIMARY CAMPAIGN

SHARE DAVIS GOP PLANS ETHICS PROBE OF LYON’S PRIMARY CAMPAIGN

The Davis County Republican Party will conduct an ethics investigation into how Rep. Nancy Lyon, R-Bountiful, is running her primary-election campaign against her GOP challenger, Ted Bradford.

The county party's central committee met Thursday night. At the end of the meeting, county party secretary Teresa Powers made the motion to look into Lyon's campaign.After some debate, which included concern by county party chairwoman Anne Christensen that there are only five days - including a weekend - until Tuesday's primary election, the 50-odd central committee members approved the ethics investigation with only one dissenting vote. If the investigation found ethical violations against Lyon, Powers said, Lyon should be forced to apologize publicly. But the motion that passed apparently stated that if violations were found, it should only be recommended that Lyon apologize.

Lyon said she is frustrated and disappointed by the committee's action. "I knew nothing about the meeting, didn't know this would come up." Lyon said Powers is a member of Eagle Forum, a conservative traditional family group that opposes her candidacy and endorses Bradford's. Powers couldn't be reached for comment Friday morning.

At the meeting, Powers said that another GOP legislative candidate was forced to apologize at the county convention for "dirty" campaigning, and that not investigating Lyon's comments would be an unfair double standard.

The squabble is over comments Lyon made to the Deseret News in interviews preceding candidate profiles published a week ago. Lyon, in two separate interviews, first said Bradford was "fired" from his juvenile court judgeship in the 1970s and later said Bradford was "removed" from his judgeship.

In the mid-1970s Bradford's six-year term as a juvenile judge ended. Under the law at that time, after each six-year term juvenile judges automatically came up for reappointment. Then-Gov. Scott M. Matheson, a Democrat, didn't reappoint Bradford. Bradford said Matheson didn't reappoint him because he was a well-known Republican and Matheson appointed instead Matheson's Weber County campaign chairman, a Democrat.

"I have run my campaign on the issues and my good record in the Legislature," said Lyon. She said the only comments she's made about Bradford's judgeship were to the Deseret News during a discussion about her and Bradford's competency to serve in the Legislature. Being fired or removed as a judge bears on competency, Lyon said in the interviews. "I haven't been going around" the community generally saying Bradford was fired as a judge, she added.

"The Eagle Forum hasn't talked to me about any problems they may have" with her record, said Lyon. "But they have an agenda and if you are not as rigid in your philosophy as they are they have no tolerance." Lyon said she is mainstream in her Republicanism and her approach to legislative votes.

"We need to make the Republican Party bigger, to broaden the circle. (Eagle Forum) wants to narrow the circle, and that is making a lot of Republicans uncomfortable, they don't know if they fit in here."

While not part of the ethics investigation, a number of central committee members were also upset that GOP Gov. Mike Leavitt has endorsed Lyon and that she sent out a mailer with a Leavitt endorsement letter. They said elected GOP leaders should stay out of primary races.