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Political news

Judy Fahys / KUER News

Democrats had a convention contest to see who would would get the chance to try unseating Republican Congressman Rob Bishop in the 1st Congressional District.

And now Donna McAleer is looking forward to a rematch against Bishop. She said she’s got much more ammunition against the incumbent in the two years since their last faceoff. McAleer says congressional bickering and Bishop’s role in the government shutdown last fall are good campaign issues in the 1st District.

Andrea Smardon / KUER

Utah Congressman Christ Stewart will face Democrat Luz Robles in the upcoming November election. Robles had no Democratic competitors for the District 2 nomination, leaving her free to focus on her Republican opponent. 

At the convention, Luz Robles acknowledged that running for Congress as a working mother, a state senator, and a Democrat would be an uphill battle.

Utah Democrats Choose Peter Corroon for Party Chair

Apr 26, 2014
Andrea Smardon / KUER

Utah Democrats elected former Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon as their new party chair over the weekend. Both Corroon and his opponent Richard Davis emphasized the need to recruit more Democrats outside of Salt Lake valley.

BYU political science professor Richard Davis was chair of the Democratic Party in conservative stronghold Utah County for four years.

GOP delegates passed a resolution at Saturday’s state convention to defend the caucus and convention system. The issue likely forced one incumbent Senator into a primary election.

By a show of hands, delegates opposed changes the state legislature made this year to the nominating process – a compromise between supporters of the Count My Vote initiative, who want a direct primary election and backers of the caucus and convention system. But delegates like Michael Willson, say it violates the right of the party to exercise political speech.

Congressmen Bishop, Stewart Win GOP Nominations

Apr 26, 2014
Dan Bammes

  The Republicans who represent Utah’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts easily won their party’s nominations at Saturday’s state convention.

Congressman Rob Bishop is running for a seventh term.  He says his ambition is to stay there.

“I have never seriously wanted to be a U.S. Senator," Bishop told convention delegates.  Because I am committed to the House.  I am invested in the House.  I want to be effective in the House.  The only problem is, that means every two years I have to come and ask you for your vote again.”

Software engineer Brian Wonnacott ran unopposed for the Democratic seat in the 3rd Congressional District against Republican incumbent Jason Chaffetz Saturday. The avid outdoorsman says he regularly climbs Mount Olympus and Grandeur Peak. In asking delegates for their vote, Wonnacott expressed his realistic view of his campaign.

“I’ve climbed Mt. Rainier and Kilimanjaro and now I hope to climb the highest mountain of all, the bureaucracy of the US Government,” say Wonnacott.

Judy Fahys

Charles Stormont will be the Democratic candidate for Attorney General. He’s been working in the Attorney General’s office since 2008. He ran uncontested at the Democratic Convention. Following an impassioned nomination speech by Representative Patrice Arent, Stormont declared his stand against Amendment 3.

“It is time for an attorney general who will not play politics with Utah families,” says Stormont.

He says he doesn’t question the character of his opponent, Sean Reyes.

Mia Love Wins GOP 4th Congressional District Race

Apr 26, 2014
Brian Grimmett

Former Saratoga Springs mayor Mia Love won the state Republican nomination for Utah’s 4th congressional district.

Utah AG Sean Reyes Accepts GOP Nomination

Apr 26, 2014
Brian Grimmett

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes will be the Republican nominee in the special election to replace former AG John Swallow. Reyes was the only republican candidate running. He has been working as the AG since January when Governor Herbert appointed him to replace Swallow. At the GOP state convention on Saturday, Reyes reaffirmed his commitment to fighting for Utah’s Amendment 3.

Brian Grimmett/KUER

On Saturday, Republicans and Democrats across Utah will gather at state party conventions to nominate candidates for the mid-term elections. But one party will also be choosing a new leader.  Jim Dabakis  ended his nearly three year tenure as chairman of the Utah Democratic Party last month. The veteran politician sat down with KUER's Terry Gildea and reflected on his experience leading Utah's minority party.

Davis County Will Vote by Mail

Apr 22, 2014
Davis County Clerk-Auditor

  Davis County is trying a vote-by-mail system for the primary election this spring and the general election in the fall.

Voters in Davis County received letters last week telling them about the changes.  Election Manager Brian McKenzie says ballot packets will be mailed out 28 days before each election.  When they come back, they’ll be verified using a bar code and by comparing the voter’s signature to their registration forms.

Ken Rudin's Political Junkie returns to KUER on Friday April 18th!  

Ken Rudin brings his trademark knowledge of American history and politics to a weekly sit-down with journalists, pundits and politicians – and invites listeners to show off their political trivia skills. Tune in Fridays during Morning Edition at 8:50 and in All Things Considered at 5:50 here on KUER.

Brian Grimmett

On final day to approve bills passed by the Utah Legislature, Governor Gary Herbert vetoed HB414, which would have given the legislature the final say on challenges to legislative subpoenas.

Former Salt Lake County Mayor and Gubernatorial candidate Peter Corroon says he’s considering running to be chairman of the Utah Democratic Party. Corroon hasn’t been heavily involved in politics for almost two years. And while he says he hasn’t made a final decision on whether or not to run for State Democratic Party Chair, he says it’s a position that definitely piques his interest.

Brian Grimmett

The chairman of the Utah Democratic party is stepping down from the position he’s held for nearly three years.

Jim Dabakis says he’s resigning to deal with an undisclosed medical condition. But he says the move also frees him to be a stronger advocate for progressive causes. 

“As a party chair, I often felt constrained about what I would say,” Dabakis explains, “and what I could say not wanting to hold candidates from the rural parts of the state to a flaming progressive agenda.”

As the deadline looms, several candidates filed to run for the congressional seat in Utah’s second district this week including the Republican incumbent and the potential Democratic front-runner.  

On Wednesday morning, Republican Congressman Chris Stewart met with reporters at the state Capitol as he filed his paperwork to run for re-election. The incumbent won his seat in the 2012 election with more than 60 percent of the vote and he’s confident he’ll post similar numbers when voters turn out in November.

Brian Grimmett

It’s been three months since Governor Gary Herbert appointed Sean Reyes to fill the vacancy left by John Swallow in the Attorney General’s office, and today Reyes officially filed to run to keep the spot for the remainder of Swallow’s term.

Reyes says he wants to keep his position so he can continue implementing changes aimed at improving the public’s eroding trust in the Attorney General’s office in the aftermath of the John Swallow scandals. He says he’s already seeing results and he’d like to continue what he’s started.

Democrat Charles Stormont to Run for Attorney General

Mar 18, 2014
Brian Grimmett

Democrat Charles Stormont has filed to run in the special election to replace former Attorney General John Swallow.

Charles Stormont has worked as an attorney in the Utah Attorney General’s office for the past 6 years.  He says the Swallow scandal and the effects it had on the office is one of the main reasons he decided to run.

Andrea Smardon

UPDATE: Additional candidates who have filed for the 4th Congressional District include Bill Peterson (DEM), Bob Fuehr (REP), and Jim Vein (LIB).

The race for Utah Congressman Jim Matheson’s seat is on. Republican Mia Love and Democrat Doug Owens both filed Monday to represent the 4th District. Love narrowly lost to Matheson in the last election, and claims to be a better candidate than she was in 2012. But Owens insists he could still pull off a win.

Neighborhoods Hold State Party Caucuses This Week

Mar 17, 2014
Image from DonkeyHotey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/

State Republican and Democratic Party Caucuses are this week. People will gather in neighborhoods across Utah to discuss candidates and issues and to elect their neighborhood delegate. Tuesday is the Democratic Party Caucus. Republicans meet on Thursday. Anna Thompson is the Communications Director for the Democratic Party. She says this is the smallest organizing unit in any election, so it’s very important for everyone to become involved.

Swallow Scandal Results in Campaign Finance Changes

Mar 14, 2014
Brian Grimmett

The scandal surrounding former Utah Attorney General John Swallow not only ended in his resignation, but also brought about several changes to Utah’s campaign finance reporting laws. 

The House’s investigation into John Swallow came with a price tag of about $4 million. A cost House Speaker Becky Lockhart says was well worth it.

“It was a high cost, but we cannot put a price on public trust," she says. "One does not cut corners when the very integrity of the justice system is at question.”

2014 Utah Legislature Comes to a Close

Mar 13, 2014
Brian Grimmett

As the 2014 session of the Utah Legislature comes to a close we're putting together an ongoing list of the best sights, sounds, stories, and tweets from the last day. Be sure to check back frequently to see the lastest.

Utah Legislature Rushes Through Final Day

Mar 13, 2014
Dan Bammes

  It’s the last day of Utah’s general legislative session.  State senators and representatives will be working ‘till midnight to get as many bills passed as they can. 

Whether it’s the chime that tells members of the House it’s time to vote, or state Senate clerk Paula Tew calling the roll, the final day of the legislative session is filled with vote after vote after vote.  Inevitably, there are many bills that won’t pass.  And there are issues that won’t be addressed in this session.

Sex Abuse Education Bill Passes Legislature

Mar 12, 2014
Wikimedia Commons

  House Bill 286 passed a final vote in the Utah House of Representatives 71-0 on Wednesday, after an amendment in the Senate required it to come back one last time.

Brian Grimmett

Members of the House Special Investigative Committee of former Attorney General John Swallow presented their final report to the full body of the Utah House of Representatives Wednesday. The presentation on the House floor marked the conclusion of the nearly 9 month long investigation into Swallow.

House Swallow Investigation Approves Final Report

Mar 11, 2014
Brian Grimmett

The House Special Investigative Committee of former Utah Attorney General John Swallow approved their final report Tuesday ending a nearly 9 months long process.

Legislative Humor: #InternPickUpLines

Mar 11, 2014

The normal place to find Utah political chatter on Twitter is #utpol, but on Tuesday morning the hashtag InternPickUpLines exploded with humor and wit perfect for the last few days of the Utah legislature. Here is a selection of the very best.

Swallow Committee Delays Final Report

Mar 7, 2014
Brian Grimmett / KUER

The House Committee investigating former Attorney General John Swallow pushed back the release of their final report Friday. It is now scheduled for public release some time next week. Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, says he delayed the release to be able to include information they only recently recovered from a crashed hard drive in one of Swallow’s personal computers.

Utah Unemployment drops to 3.9%

Mar 7, 2014
Dan Bammes

  Utah’s unemployment rate dropped below four percent in February for the first time since 2008.

Governor Gary Herbert was beaming as he went before the TV cameras this morning to say Utah’s unemployment rate stands at 3.9 percent, compared to a national rate of 6.7 percent.  The statewide rate of job growth is at 2.8 percent.

Women top the leadership of both parties in Utah’s House of Representatives. But that’s going to change next year. Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake, announced she’s stepping down as leader of the House Democrats. Like House Speaker Becky Lockhart, Seelig is the first woman in Utah’s history to hold her post. She says serving in the Legislature has been an education in juggling and she’s ready to focus once again on her personal goals.

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