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Most Utah legislators survive intraparty challenges

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SALT LAKE CITY — Incumbent state lawmakers fared well in Republican primaries Tuesday, with all but one leading their races to advance to the general election in November.

A handful of races Tuesday pitted Utah legislators against challengers who gathered signatures to earn a spot on the primary ballot, a controversial option created by state lawmakers through SB54.

In the state Senate, incumbent Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, held a 54 percent to 46 percent lead over Rep. Rich Cunningham, R-South Jordan, when The Associated Press called the race in Fillmore's favor just before 10:30 p.m.

In April, Fillmore earned more than 60 percent of delegate votes at the Salt Lake County Republican Convention, which normally would have earned him the GOP nomination. But Cunningham advanced to a primary because he gathered the required 2,000 signatures under SB54.

Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, the sponsor of SB54, also faced an intraparty challenge from former Utah House member Chris Herrod, one of the law's most outspoken critics. Bramble collected signatures to access the ballot; Herrod did not. As of 10:30 p.m., Bramble was leading 54 percent to 46 percent.

In the Utah House, Logan Wilde had a slim 51 percent to 49 percent lead over incumbent Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville, as of 10:30 p.m. Brown collected signatures under Count My Vote.

Like Brown, incumbent Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, also gathered signatures. Edwards had a narrow 52 percent to 48 percent lead over challenger Glen Jenkins.

Two Utah House races featured candidates who gathered signatures to take on incumbents: Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, held a 53 percent to 47 percent lead over Xani Haynie; and Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Santaquin, led Richard Moore with nearly 63 percent of the vote.

The AP called the District 57 race for Greene just before 10:30 p.m.

In the state Senate, the AP called the race for signature-gatherer Dan Hemmert, who held 60 percent of the vote over Morgan Philpot in the GOP race for the seat currently held by Sen. Alvin Jackson, R-Highland.

In other Utah House races, Cory Maloy led Mike Brenny with 60 percent in the race for the seat currently held by Rep. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi; Macade Jensen secured nearly 67 percent of the vote over Jack Castellanos for the seat currently held by Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville; and Walt Brooks had 57 percent of the vote over Steven Kemp for the seat currently held by Don Ipson, R-St. George.

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: McKenzieRomero