Democratic Party sees record turnout at state convention

Apr 22 2012 - 10:06pm

SALT LAKE CITY -- It was a record turnout for the Utah State Democratic Party annual convention Saturday at the Salt Palace.

Utah State Party Chairman Jim Dabakis called it "a great day for the Democratic family."

"We broke attendance records ... we had great candidates to chose from, and the convention was a model of efficiency and civility," Dabakis said.

In preliminary results reported by the Democratic Party, Scott Howell received 63 percent of the votes for U.S. Senate, meaning the policy director for IBM and former Utah state senator may have a chance to go against Sen. Orrin Hatch in November if Hatch wins his June 26 showdown with former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist.

Howell previously challenged Hatch in 2000.

Pete Ashdown, who ran against Hatch in 2006, garnered 36 percent of the votes in Saturday's convention. William Peterson received 1 percent.

The congressional District 1 race went two rounds, with Ryan Combe receiving 39.95 percent of the votes in the first round, while Donna McAleer received 59.54 percent. The second round closed the distance, with Combe getting 49.46 percent and McAleer 50.75 percent. The two will face off in the June primary.

In other district races, Jay Seegmiller picked up 62 percent of the votes for Congressional District 2, with Dean Collinwood and Mike Small receiving 25 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

In Congressional District 3, Soren Simonsen took 77 percent of the votes. Richard Clark received 23 percent.

All uncontested seats were elected through a vote by acclamation.

"I'm thrilled with our Democratic slate of candidates," Debakis said, "and look forward to seeing all our Democrats on June 26 for the primary between Donna McAleer and Ryan Combe!"

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