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Gardner, Bateman win GOP nominations

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Incumbents David J. Gardner and David R. Bateman - both made to look attractively moderate by ultraconservative opponents - won the Republican nominations for their respective offices on the strength of relatively high voter turnout in Tuesday's primary.

Sixteen percent of Utah County's registered voters showed up at the polls Tuesday, minimizing the impact of vocal but small pockets of support for challengers Hans Verlan Andersen Jr. and Richard Mack. In complete but unofficial results, Gardner outdistanced Andersen in the race for Utah County Commission Seat B, while Bate-man soundly defeated Mack in the Utah County sheriff race."The numbers we ran said if the turnout was over 12 percent, we'd be OK," said a jubilant Gardner. "If it was under 8 percent, it would be a crapshoot."

Both Andersen and Mack made surprisingly strong showings at the county Republican nominating convention in May, However, their images as extreme right-wing candidates weren't as attractive to primary voters as they had been to more conservative convention delegates.

"There was just a message there that I think disturbed most of the people in the county," Bateman said.

The 57-year-old Bateman, sheriff since 1985, didn't know if he would be celebrating or grieving after primary results came in.

"I certainly didn't want to put on a party and have it turn into a wake," Bateman said. "I was really nervous. I didn't know if I was going to win."

Gardner said his opponent, Andersen, ran a single-issue campaign.

"The thing that made the difference for me," Gardner said, "was the ability to take him on face-to-face."

Bateman said he was surprised that he outdistanced Mack by more than a 2-to-1 margin.

In fact, Bateman garnered approximately 70 percent of the vote. He may have overestimated the strength of Mack's support, Bate-man said.

"If I had known I was going to win (by that margin), I would have had a pizza party," he said.

Meanwhile, an obviously disappointed Mack lamented the fact that peripheral "shenanigans" contributed to his loss in a primary he felt confident he could win.

"I wish that Dave and I had been left alone to present our views, but that just never happened," said Mack, 45, former sheriff of Graham County, Ariz.

From the onset, Gardner enjoyed slightly less than 60 percent of the vote total. Gardner, Springville, received 16,000 votes while Orem resident Andersen received 11,000.

Gardner said he was more worried about a low voter turnout than about his opponent.

Gardner now faces Democratic challenger Nancy J. Woodside, another opponent he says he takes seriously. Meanwhile, Bateman will square off in the November election against Democrat George Alexanderson, a former New York City police officer and current deputy Utah County sheriff.

Gardner said the advertisements paid for by Gov. Mike Leavitt and GOP legislators made the difference by waking people up to the need to vote.