Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

April 22, 2014
Primary needed to finalize GOP candidate list

June 24 primary election to feature Bitner vs. Johnson, Jensen vs. Walker 

Wade Bitner

Wade Bitner

Tooele County Republican voters will head to the polls on June 24 for a primary election to choose two candidates — one for a county commission seat and one for county treasurer.

Dean Johnson

Dean Johnson

All other Republican nominees for county offices were selected by delegates at the Tooele County Republican Nominating Convention on Friday night.

Republican delegates and onlookers filled the community room at Tooele Applied Technology College as 119 delegates cast ballots to select their party’s nominees for the November general election.

Convention - Mike Jensen

Mike Jensen

Convention Mike Jensen

Mike Jensen

The delegates were selected at the Republican party’s March 20 precinct caucus meetings.

Candidates needed at least 60 percent of delegates’ votes to avoid a primary run-off. There were two races during which this did not occur.

For county commission seat A, primary voters will choose between Dean Johnson and Wade Bitner on June 24. The current holder of that seat, Tooele County Commissioner Jerry Hurst, chose not to seek re-election.

Gordon Beals, with 6 percent of the vote, and Larry Burton, who received no votes, were eliminated in the first vote count. In the second vote count, Johnson came up with 57 percent of the votes and Bitner with 44 percent.

Both Johnson and Bitner are long-time Grantsville residents. Johnson is a banker in Tooele County and Bitner is a retired agriculture extension agent who has worked in Tooele and Salt Lake counties.

The winner of the Republican primary for county commission seat A will face Democrat Jerry Edwards and independent candidate Jill Thomas in the general election.

The second primary race for Tooele County Republicans will feature two veteran office holders vying for one office.

Tooele County Treasurer Jeremy Walker was challenged for the party’s nomination for treasurer by Tooele County Auditor Mike Jensen.

The delegates voted 51 percent for Walker and 49 percent for Jensen, leaving Republican voters to make the final choice between the two.

Walker is ending his first term as treasurer and Jensen has served two terms as auditor.

The county commission recently combined the clerk and auditor positions into one office, but Jensen filed to run for treasurer.

The winner of the treasurer primary will face off against Democrat Rachel Hester in the general election.

It took three vote counts for delegates to select a nominee for county commission seat B. The first vote resulted in Bruce Clegg, Tooele County Commission chairman, being dropped for consideration. He received one vote.

The second vote count eliminated Danny Marz, who received 1 percent of the votes. In the third vote count, Myron Bateman received 66 percent to Jeff McNeill’s 34 percent.

Bateman will have two opponents in the general election: Democrat Kendall Thomas and Constitution party candidate Jonathan Garrard.

The delegates were decisive in their choice for the Republican candidate for county sheriff.

Paul Wimmer, Tooele City assistant police chief, emerged from the first vote count with 72 percent.

Duke North received 15 percent, Brad Patch had 13 percent, and Jack Guenon received no votes.

Wimmer will compete with Democrat Andy Oblad in the general election.

Marilyn Gillette will be the Republican nominee for clerk/auditor. On the first vote, Gillette received 65 percent of the vote to Toby Lee’s 35 percent.

The Democrat nominee for clerk/auditor is Sam Woodruff.

Three county office holders have no opposition for re-election.

County Assessor Wendy Shubert, Recorder/Surveyor Jerry Houghton, and Attorney Doug Hogan had no Republican challengers. They also will run unopposed in the general election.

Coincidentally, each of these county officials will serve a six-year term, instead of the usual four-year term.

The state legislature decided in 2011 to stagger the election of county officials. As a result the county recorder/surveyor, assessor and treasurer will be elected this fall for six-year terms. In 2020 these offices will revert to four-year terms.

The primary election will be June 24. Voters must be registered as affiliated with the Republican party to vote in the Republican primary. The last day to change or declare party affiliation is May 27.

The general election will be on Nov. 4. 

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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