Competition should raise interest in 2012 elections

Jun 15 2012 - 7:35pm

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Dave Greiling
Dave Greiling

I'm suffering from a certain amount of Election Overload.

Campaigns start earlier and, consequently, last longer than they once did.

For years, somebody's been getting ready for/announcing for/running for/dropping out of the race for president/governor/senator.

It can be mind-numbing.

Having said that, standing on the cusp of the June 26 primary, there is an intirguing mix to this year's elections, at least from this vantage point. Let's call it the competition factor.

Unhappiness with the incumbent, whoever he or she is, and the belief that "I" can do a better job, drives much of the opposition that leads to primaries, which, for partisan elected positions, are really a fight within the family.

The highest profile race is on the Republican ticket, where six-term U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch is facing a spirited battle for the nomination from former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist.

But other races, including nonpartisan ones, have also drawn multiple candidates. For example, Don Belnap, a two-term incumbent and president of the Ogden School Board, ran unopposed in his first two terms. This time around, he has two challengers, David Tanner and Allen Smith, in District 1.

In Ogden School Board District 5, the field is even more crowded, with incumbent Shane Story facing three challengers -- J. Scott Handy, Clark Hogan and Jim Hutchins.

On the Democratic side of the ballot, two poliitical newcomers, Ryan Combe and Donna McAleer, are facing off for the party's nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop in November.

In Davis County, Douglas MacDonald and Richard Bagley both want the Democratic nomination for State House 18.

The competition embodied in this year's primaries has added spice and interest that isn't always there. Even with spirited contests, voter turnout for primaries usually lags that at general elections, which isn't so great to begin with anyway.

It will be interesting to see if the number of contested races this time around spurs more voters to go to the polls.

Stories previewing the contested primary races will appear in the Weber Plus and Davis Plus sections of the paper on Thursday.

NO COMMENT: A reader this week asked that we remove a comment posted online to a local story.

The comment was unkind and rude, but it was within the bounds of what we consider to be an acceptable comment.

The bad thing about the Internet is there are a lot of people out there who take every opportunity to unload their frustrations on any available target.

The good thing about the Internet is there are a lot of people out there who don't let the first group get away with it.

In fact, shortly after the first comment appeared, several others were posted rebutting it and supporting the target of the original commenter.

Dave Greiling is managing editor of the Standard-Examiner. He may be reached at (801) 625-4224 or via email at dgreiling@standard.net

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