Utah County Republicans oust long-serving legislator, while several Salt Lake County contests are headed to a second round of voting


Utah County Republicans gave the boot to 7-term Rep. Brad Daw while Salt Lake County Republicans pushed Sen. Wayne Harper to a primary election in June.

Daw lost to attorney Nelson Abbot, who will likely cruise to an easy win in November in heavily Republican Utah County. His only opposition in the general election are candidates from the United Utah and Independent American parties. No Democrat filed to run in the race.

In Salt Lake County, Sen. Wayne Harper has been forced into a primary election with Karen Hyatt. Harper got 53.7 percent of the delegate vote on Saturday, which was just short of enough support to avoid a primary election.

Sen. Lincoln Filmore defeated Rich Cunningham handily in Saturday’s convention, but that vote was rendered moot by the fact that both men collected enough signatures to qualify for the primary election, where the party nomination will be decided in June. 

Two Salt Lake County legislative contests will go to a second round of voting on Monday:

  • In HD42, Jordan Teuscher and Aaron Starks move to another round while Sam Boone was eliminated. Starks cannot be eliminated by delegates as he advanced to the primary ballot through the signature route.
  • In HD47, incumbent Rep. Steve Christiansen and Nathan Brown face off in a second round. Stacy Norton was eliminated by delegates.

Rep. Mike McKell fended off a pair of challengers to win the nomination to replace Sen. Deidre Henderson in the Utah Senate. He also has no Democratic opponent in November, just Emily Bergeson from the United Utah Party.

Seven Republicans filed to replace McKell in HD66. Retired National Guard Gen. Jefferson Burton, who is heading up the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and Woodland Hills City Councilmember Kari Malkovitch both won enough delegate support to qualify for the June primary election. The winner of that election will automatically win a seat in the legislature as no other candidates filed to run in the race.

In HD56, incumbent Kay Christofferson was defeated at the convention by Merrillee Boyack, but he had already advanced to a primary election through the SB54 signature route. Boyack got 62 percent of the delegate vote at convention, which would have been good enough to end Christofferson’s tenure in the legislature, but because of signatures, he lives to fight another day.

Incumbent Republican Marsha Judkins prevailed at convention on Saturday, but has been forced into a June Primary by Kenneth Grover, the twin brother of Sen. Keith Grover, who qualified for the primary through the signature-gathering route.

Rep. Norm Thurston easily defeated Tabitha Pacheco in HD64, while Doug Welton won the party nomination to replace the retiring Rep. Marc Roberts in HD67. Welton is now running unopposed in November.