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Davis County Convention Results

April 16, 2012

Primary challenges come out of convention (from http://www.standard.net/stories/2012/04/14/primary-challenges-come-out-convention)

By Antone Clark Standard-Examiner correspondent Sat, 04/14/2012 – 10:59pm

WOODS CROSS — Any notion that the Republican Party has been in power so long in Davis County that the results of elections are almost scripted was turned on its ear Friday night in the party’s nominating convention. Two veteran lawmakers, one at the state level and one at the county level, will face an inter- party primary challenge on June 26.

Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton, will face Chris Crowder in a primary in House District 16 while County Commissioner John Petroff Jr. faces a primary run-off against challenger Terry Spencer, of Syracuse. Petroff came within a whisker of winning the nomination outright in a late night ballot Friday at Woods Cross High School, but garnered just more than 59 percent of the delegate vote. A candidate needed 60 percent to avoid a primary.

The former West Point mayor was miffed after hearing the election results and was upset the race has evolved too much into a discussion of a commissioner’s salary, rather than what has been done or needs to be done at the county level. Spencer, a former state senator, said he understands the turmoil the race has caused within the party. “I’d be upset if I were him, too,” Spencer said of the results, which showed Petroff with 491 votes, while Spencer had 341. He said he realizes he is taking on a party machine in opposing the commissioner, but said he is prepared to go all the way.

The commission race was close, but the House race between Handy and Crowder was even closer. In a district delegate vote, Handy garnered 48 votes to 43 for Crowder. “Game on,” Handy said of the outcome, which he said pits a mainstream conservative against a Tea Party advocate. Crowder has been linked to the Tea Party and has criticized Handy, a two-term representative, for not being conservative enough. “I feel good about almost a 50-50 split,” Crowder said of the outcome.

He said Handy is well-respected in local Republican circles and to push him to a primary is an accomplishment. Other House incumbents had a much easier time winning their party nomination. Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, and Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, all gained over 80 percent of the delegate vote in their bids be on the Republican ticket in November. Only one Democrat has won a countywide election in the county in the past 59 years, but there is an increasing political divide within the ranks, as shown by the two races.

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