Tom Draschil says Republicans in the 3rd Congressional District are looking for a leader, someone who can beat a popular incumbent.
The party's hungry for a victory in November after two straight defeats to Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah. Despite Orton's wide appeal to a traditionally right-leaning district, Draschil says, the two-term congressman isn't as conservative as he appears."He empowers the Democratic Party leadership. He is a piece, an integral part of the political machine," Draschil said. "He'll never be able to be a leader in the Democratic Party."
Electability - or "Who can defeat Bill Orton?" as a Draschil campaign flier reads - remains a key issue for Republicans two days before the June 28 primary election. Draschil faces Emery County Commissioner Dixie Thompson. Draschil, a Texas native, says he has the background, education and experience to oust Orton. He also believes he's on the same political wavelength as the district.
"The Democrats in Congress are no friends to the idea of less government. Instead, they consistently vote to increase government spending and involvement" he said.
Draschil, 44, said the proper role of government is simply to protect people's life, liberty and property. He opposes national health care in any form, infringement on the Second Amendment right to bear arms and outcome-based education in which all students must reach the same standard.
While both candidates share the same basic philosophy, Draschil is a little right of Thompson on the political spectrum. Draschil says Thompson is willing to allow more federal control in local affairs than he is.
Draschil was reared in Louisiana and Virginia. He earned economics and law degrees from Brigham Young University. He has never taken the bar exam. In summer 1975, Draschil served an internship for former Democratic Texas Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, now the U.S. treasury secretary. Draschil moved to Provo in 1989.
Currently a real estate developer, Draschil is married to the former Cheryl Shumway. Their combined families include 12 children.
Dixie Thompson says it's time to unite the Republican Party. Harmony, she said, will produce a candidate capable of beating Democrat Bill Orton in November.
As does her Republican opponent, Tom Draschil, in the June 28 primary election, Thompson says Orton isn't as conservative as he appears. He often sides with liberal Democratic leaders, she said, calling him a "political tap dancer."
"Bill needs to be replaced," Thompson said.
And she's in a better position to do that than Draschil. "I do have a good understanding of both urban and rural issues," she said.
Thompson, an Emery County commissioner since 1990, has worked to preserve access to public lands and state and local road rights of way. She says one of the keys to winning the primary and an election against Orton is rural support.
Thompson has lived in Orangeville the past 14 years and grew up in west Salt Lake County in what is now West Valley City.
Although it hasn't been an issue, Thompson is the first woman in either party to contend for the 3rd District nomination as far as a primary election. She was the first woman elected to the Emery County Commission, her first elected office.
Thompson did mention the subject during a state convention speech. Talking to "the feminists in Washington and the liberal establishment," she said, "I'm coming to Washington to tell you what real womanhood means."
Thompson, 50, said she's tired of federal intrusion into the lives of Utahns, including unfunded mandates or what she calls "silent taxes" on local governments and private businesses.
Thompson says the government has no authority or responsibility to provide health care. She opposes gun control. Taxes are too high and government is more often a source of economic weakness than strength, she said.
After rearing five children with her husband, Kenneth R. Thompson, Thompson returned to school, earning degrees in business administration from the College of Eastern Utah and Utah State University. Before getting involved in politics, Thompson was a homemaker and worked in cellular phone sales.
The Deseret News' pre-election Sunday Extra was compiled by staff writers Jeff Vice, Dennis Romboy, Steve Fidel, Don Rosebrock, Linda Thomson, Karl Cates, Jan Thompson, Patrick D. Poyfair, Jason N. Swensen, Joe Costanzo, Jerry Spangler and Matthew S. Brown; assistant city editors Scott Taylor and Marilyn Karras; political editor Bob Bernick Jr.; and associate city editor David Schneider.