There is no lack of contenders for state and federal positions this spring as the Republican and Democratic parties head into their state conventions in May. In fact the number of people running for the one United States Senate seat and the House of Representative seat in District Two may be a record. At the same time there are a number of candidates running for governor as well, and other parties besides the big two are also posting candidates, along with some that have filed as unaffiliated.
In the Senate race Bob Bennett has his hands full as seven fellow Republicans have filed to run against him. That may lead to the biggest fight at the GOP convention this year.
Bennett, who lists his Utah address as Salt Lake, is being challenged by those from his own party including Tim Bridgewater (Provo), David Y. Chiu (Provo), Merrill Cook (Salt Lake), Cherilyn Eagar (Salt Lake), Leonard J. Fabiano (South Jordan), Jeremy Friedbaum (Provo) and Mike Lee (Alpine). Along with that long list of GOP candidates, Democrats Sam F. Granato (Salt Lake) and Christopher Stout (Salt Lake) are also looking for their party's nomination. In addition Scott N. Bradley (North Logan), a Constitution party candidate, will be on the ballot this November.
Bennett isn't alone with a long list of people who want his job. Jim Matheson, the only Democrat amongst an otherwise all Republican congressional delegation from Utah, has seven candidates running against him. These include Democrat Claudia Wright (Holladay) who will battle it out for the nomination at the May convention. Republicans running include Ed Eliason (Sandy), Morgan Philpot (American Fork) and Neil Walter (Santa Clara). Constitutional party candidate Randall Hinton (Veyo) has also filed along with two unaffiliated candidates, Wayne L. Hill (St. George) and Dave Glissmeyer (Salt Lake).
Present Governor Gary Herbert is also facing a convention battle as three other Republicans will be vying for his job. Those that have filed include Richard Martin (Provo), Daniel Van Oaks, Jr. (Alpine) and "SuperDell" Shanze (Saratoga Springs).
The only Democrat who has filed and will most certainly get his parties nomination is Peter Corroon, the present Mayor of Salt Lake County. One other candidate that is in the running is Libertarian W. Andrew McCullough (Lehi).
Each present office holder has their supporters and detractors. Bennett is considered too moderate by many Utah Republicans, while Matheson, who represents a largely Republican district has been seen as being too left. His recent no vote on the Democratically supported health care bill has led to some contention amongst state Democrats who have questioned his true colors.
Herbert, who took over the governor's job from Jon Huntsman last year when President Obama appointed him the ambassador to China has been seen by some as being not very strong on leadership. He is often seen as more moderate than many more right wing Republicans thought he would be as the leader of the state.
Considering the length of time that the two federal representatives have served it is surprising to some that either is facing such interparty opposition.
Once the conventions are over, however, whoever ends up with the nominations will face some stiff competition on the November ballot as well.