Political news

Whittney Evans

The outcome of the GOP primary race between West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder and Holladay businessman Mark Crockett is still uncertain. Although Crockett ended the night with a slight lead, a vote recount is likely.

Brian Grimmett

Senator Orrin Hatch won the GOP Primary Tuesday night, defeating former state senator Dan Liljenquist with more than 60 percent of the vote after a campaign stoked by anti-incumbent sentiment. Hatch told supporters at his election night gathering that he was relieved that the primary is behind him.

"You know I’ve learned that you can’t take anything for granted. No matter how good you are, no matter how much you’ve done. There’s always going to be somebody who's going to find fault with you and I think that’s kind of good in some ways," Hatch said.

Utah’s Immigration Law Still in Limbo After Supreme Court Decision

Jun 26, 2012
Dan Bammes

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on Arizona’s immigration law, but the implementation of Utah’s similar “show me your papers” legislation - HB 497 -  is still awaiting a federal court decision.  The law gives police officers authority to check suspects’ immigration status, but immigrant advocates say the US District Court in Utah needs to consider racial profiling arguments that were not heard by the Supreme Court.

The Tea Party revolution swept through Utah in 2010, when conservative favorite Mike Lee ousted three-term Republican Sen. Bob Bennett at the state party convention.

Perhaps the person watching the upset closest that day was Utah's longest-serving senator, Orrin Hatch. Now 78, Hatch is trying to keep his job in an anti-incumbent atmosphere that led to the defeat last month of his colleague Richard Lugar of Indiana.

KUER News has a new twitter account (@KUERnews) and yesterday's special session of the Utah Legislature proved to be a great way to break it in. We sent three reporters to the capitol and throughout the day they took advantage of twitter to keep you updated.

Interim Committee Approves Bill to Add Liquor Licenses

Jun 20, 2012
Sen. John Valentine
Andrea Smardon

Updated 2:40 PM 6/20/2012

Utah may be getting 90 new liquor licenses. The State Legislature is expected to vote this afternoon on a bill that would allow 50 full-service and 40 limited-service restaurants to obtain licenses. The amendment to the Alcohol Beverage Control Act, sponsored by Senator John Valentine, was presented to the Business and Labor interim committee this morning. Representative Don Ipson urged the committee to approve it. 

Cooke for Governor

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Peter Cooke says he’ll limit individual contributions to his campaign, if Governor Gary Herbert will join him. Cooke and his running mate Vince Ramptom stood with Utahn’s for Ethical Government Tuesday at the State Capitol to propose a series of ethics reforms, including an overhaul of Utah’s campaign finance laws.

Cooke says declining voter participation in Utah is a testament to a lack of confidence in state government.


Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced on Monday that he’s calling a special legislative session to begin Wednesday. He plans to tackle a number of issues that include education funding and  the shortage of liquor licenses available in the state.

Partisanship, Barriers Lower Utah Voter Turnout

Jun 18, 2012
Utah Foundation

Voter turnout in Utah has dropped dramatically in recent elections, and a new study by the Utah Foundation looks at some of the reasons why.

In the presidential election of 1992, 67% of Utah's registered voters took part, while only about 50% turned out in 2008.  A study by the non-partisan Utah Foundation suggests fewer close races and barriers to voter participation such as the state's closed Republican primary could be among the reasons.  Research director Morgan Lyon Cotti says the strident partisanship of recent years also plays a part.


Senator Orrin Hatch and Dan Liljenquist faced off Friday in the only debate scheduled before the primary election later this month.  

Hatch and Liljenquist debated for an hour on KSL Newsradio’s Doug Wright Show.   Hatch claims his 36 years in the Senate position him to continue being a powerful voice for Utah. But Liljenquist says Hatch has already had more than three decades to fix problems and has failed.  During the debate he attacked Hatch’s voting record.

UCF U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Governor Herbert is in Washington, DC touting Utah’s latest rankings in an annual U.S. Chamber of Commerce report. The state ranked high in economic development and recovery efforts.

Natalie Gochnour, Executive Director of the Salt Lake Chamber, says it’s a good day for Utah’s economy.

Draper city residents expecting to vote in favor of a $29 million tax bond for the construction of a recreation center in the June primary will be disappointed to see it won’t be on the ballot. Draper City Council is withdrawing the measure amid concerns from the Draper business community.

Terry Gildea


Republican Dan Liljenquist vented his frustration last night over the fact that Senator Orrin Hatch will not debate him multiple times before the June 26th Primary. Hatch has agreed to one radio debate before then, but the  former state senator held a mock debate anyway without the incumbent present. 

Liljenquist was unapologetic about holding the event where he debated pre-selected video clips of Senator Hatch on policy issues.  He said the incumbent’s refusal to engage in more than one debate between now and the election won’t stop him from getting his message out.

Anti-Corporate Personhood Initiative Stalled

Jun 7, 2012
File Photo

An effort to ban corporate personhood in America through a local Salt Lake ballot initiative has been stopped, but city officials who support the measure say it’s not over yet.

Wimmer Won't Work for Nevada GOP

Jun 7, 2012
Carl Wimmer
Dan Bammes


On-street parking in downtown Salt Lake City may no longer be free after 6:00 p.m., on Saturdays, and during the December Holiday season.  A straw poll of the City Council suggests there is support for these changes - as well as higher rates.

Jennifer Napier-Pearce\">

Washington, DC – No one knows precisely how many Utahns attended yesterday's Presidential Inauguration in Washington DC, or all the reasons why scores traveled 25-hundred miles to be there.

But KUER's Jennifer Napier-Pearce caught up with two Utahns who made the trek to find out what motivated them to brave the crowds and frigid temperatures in order to be part of this moment in history.



Photo courtesy of Matthew LaPlante.

Salt Lake City, UT – It's Election Day and the time for candidates to get their messages out is all but over. But the way campaigns are communicating with voters has seen a significant shift this election season. KUER's Jennifer Napier-Pearce takes a look at the way new media is influencing Utah politics.

Photo courtesy of http://www.bowenforcongress.com

Salt Lake City, UT – Democrat Morgan Bowen is challenging incumbent Republican Congressman Rob Bishop for Utah's 1st Congressional District seat. Bowen was an international consultant before becoming a Mormon seminary teacher. KUER's Tasha Cook talks with Bowen about his candidacy.

Salt Lake City, UT – We've been talking this week with a group of Utah voters about issues that are motivating them to go to the polls. We conclude our "Voice of the Voter" series with a look at health care reform. KUER's Jennifer Napier-Pearce reports.

Salt Lake City, UT – Seven Utah voters recently came to KUER's studios to talk issues and what they'd like to see come from the upcoming election. In this second part of our Voice of the Voter series, panelists talk about what it's going to take to keep Utah's economy strong. KUER's Jennifer Napier-Pearce reports.

Photo courtesy of Congressman Rob Bishop

Salt Lake City, UT – Two-term incumbent Congressman Rob Bishop, a lifelong resident of the First District and former high school history teacher, is seeking a third term. KUER's Tasha Cook reports.

Salt Lake City, UT – Bill Dew is the Republican candidate for the U-S House of Representatives in Utah's 2nd Congressional District. Dew decided to run for Congress while he was in Jordan, serving a humanitarian mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As a homebuilder, Dew says he's experienced some tough economic times. He tells KUER's Dan Bammes he's confident the United States will get through its current troubles in good shape.

Washington, DC – We continue our conversations with candidates with Congressman Jim Matheson. Matheson is a Democrat who was first elected in 2000 in Utah's 2nd Congressional District. Back then, it included only areas of Salt Lake County. By the next election, new lines had been drawn that include not only St. George but many other areas of rural Utah. He won re-election in the new district and is now campaigning for a fifth term.

Denver, CO – Utah delegates to the Democratic National Convention are excited to support Barack Obama and the Democratic Party platform, according to Wayne Holland, chair of the Utah Democratic Party.

"This is an historic event. With Barack Obama being the nominee, the convention being in the western United States. The energy of our delegation is something we haven't seen in at least a generation," Holland said.

Salt Lake City, UT – Jason Chaffetz pulled off a primary election victory over an incumbent member of Congress in a a district that's been called the "most Republican district in the nation." KUER's Dan Bammes looks at the 3rd District results and other primary snd school board election returns.

Washington, DC – Republican leaders in the US House of Representatives want to re-vamp the party image in order to stave off a Democratic landslide this year. Utah's Republicans say the agenda is just fine. Matt Laslo reports from our Capitol News Connection.

Salt Lake City, UT – Energy - and the cost of energy - has displaced public education as the most important issue, according to a new study by the Utah Foundation. The rising cost of fuel is central. But, as KUER's Dan Bammes reports, issues of energy supply, technology and conservation are also critical to the discussion.