McCay knocks off Christensen, Tonks for GOP nomination

Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, lives to fight another day while Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper,` will be absent from Utah’s Capitol Hill come January.

Both men, along with educator Delania Tonks, vied for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Sen. Howard Stephenson in SD11. McCay captured the GOP nomination on the first ballot, winning more than 60% of the delegate vote on Saturday morning. 

McCay now moves to the general election against Democrat Christian Burridge. Christensen, who gave up his House seat to run for the Senate, is finished in the Legislature for now.

McCay, who seemed shocked he was able to win the nomination so quickly, credited hard work for his win.

“You never know how hard work is going to be reflected in the vote,” he said. 

The biggest relief for McCay is not having to fight for the GOP nomination in a June primary election. None of his Republican opponents opted to gather signatures, so the delegate vote was the final word on the matter.

“Despite criticism of the caucus and convention system, this is reflective of the process working,” said McCay. “I spent hundreds of hours at town halls. I had people come to every town hall meeting I was at.”

Rep. Christensen opted to run for the Senate instead of trying to hold on to his HD32 seat which he won by a scant five votes in 2016.

In other contested races on Saturday:

  • Joel Ferry defeated Kris Udy for the nomination in HD1.
  • Derrin Owens got 62% of the vote in HD58 to win the nomination.
  • Rep. Christine Watkins will move to a primary against Jae Potter in HD69.
  • Carl Albrecht is the nominee in HD70.
  • Rep. Brad Last faces Mark Borowiak in a primary in HD71.
  • Phil Lyman wins the nomination in HD73 to replace retiring Rep. Mike Noel.
  • Scott Sandall and Clark Davis will move to a primary in SD17.
  • Ronald Winterton and Brian Gorum advance to a primary in SD26.