SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on the Utah Democratic convention (all times local):
Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson has won the Utah Democratic Party’s nomination for Senate and now faces a tough general election race in the overwhelmingly Republican state.
The 52-year-old easily defeated three other candidates at the party’s state convention in Salt Lake City Saturday to secure a place on the ballot to replace retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Wilson was the first woman elected to the Salt Lake County Council and helped to establish an oversight commission for Utah’s Jordan River.
Her opponent in November is expected to be former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, though he must first get through a June 26 primary against state lawmaker Mike Kennedy.
Wilson has supported immigration reform, more restrictive gun limits and protections for natural lands.
Utah hasn’t sent a Democrat to the Senate since 1977.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams has won the Democratic nomination for Utah’s 4th Congressional District and will face Republican incumbent Mia Love in the general election.
McAdams easily defeated four contenders during the party’s convention in Salt Lake City Saturday.
His race is predicted to be the only competitive congressional contest in GOP-heavy Utah this year.
Westminster College professor James Singer won the nomination for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District to face the winner of a GOP primary in June between Rep. John Curtis and businessman Chris Herrod.
University of Utah official Shireen Ghorbani won the nomination for the 2nd District to face incumbent Chris Stewart in November.
Neither businessman Kurt Weiland nor social worker Lee Castillo reached the 60 percent necessary to win outright for the 1st Congressional District. The two will meet in the June 26 primary.
Utah Democrats targeting the state’s sole likely competitive race are split between moderate and liberal candidates trying to unseat Republican Congresswoman Mia Love.
At the party’s state convention Saturday, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams framed himself as a pragmatic moderate and pointed to his efforts to tackle homelessness in Utah’s capital.
McAdams is the favorite against three challengers for the Democratic nomination in the race for the suburban 4th Congressional District.
Robotics engineer Tom Taylor withdrew from the race Saturday and endorsed technical engineer Darlene McDonald, who he says can build an army of women voters and win the race in November.
Also running is Postal Service employee Sheldon Kirkham.
The winner will go up against Love in the general election.
The race is considered to be Utah’s only competitive congressional matchup.
There’s a cautious optimism among many Democrats at the Utah party convention in downtown Salt Lake City.
In the overwhelmingly Republican state, some Democratic delegates Saturday say there’s a hope that they can have a larger impact than normal this year, riding on recent party success in Republican-leaning districts across the country.
“There is a lot of excitement that I have not felt before in this state,” says 75-year-old Don Carlile from northern Weber County.
Carlile says his representative, Republican Rob Bishop, is out of touch and too in line with President Donald Trump.
“There’s a lot of belief that there’s this blue wave thing going around,” says 28-year-old student Michael Esplin from suburban Millcreek.
Democrats will select nominees for four U.S. House seats and one open Senate spot that are all held by Republicans.
Thousands of Utah Democrats are gathering in downtown Salt Lake City to select nominees for the state’s four congressional races, including a U.S. House contest that is expected to be Utah’s sole competitive race for federal office.
They are largely underdogs across the state.
But Democrats Saturday will be energized by surprising recent victories across the nation, benefiting from opposition to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies.
A major focus of the party will be Ben McAdams, who is looking to win the party’s nomination for the 4th Congressional District against Rep. Mia Love. That race is the only one considered competitive in deep-red Utah.
Elected state party delegates will choose nominees for U.S. Congress and the state legislature as well as set priorities for issue and identity-based caucus groups.