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Utah GOP delegates force primary elections for Romney, Curtis

WEST VALLEY CITY — Delegates gave Utah’s Republican front-runners for U.S. Senate and the 3rd District congressional seat some competition in June’s primary election.

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, has been a Utah congressman for five months.

“Congress worked on tax reform for 31 years, and we passed it after I got there only after three days,” he jokingly told delegates at the annual Utah Republican Party Convention in West Valley City on Saturday.

But delegates also chose further-right candidate and former state Rep. Chris Herrod to challenge him in June’s primary.

They also didn’t like how for presidential nominee Mitt Romney collected signatures to get on the ballot.

“I’m asking for your support that we may come out of this convention as a united party, with all of us pulling together going into the general election,” Romney said.

So delegates also nominated retiring state Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, for U.S. Senate.

Delegates also nominated San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, who was once jailed for 10 days for leading an illegal ATV ride, to replace retiring state Sen. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, who wanted to rename a highway after President Trump.