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Governor Gary Herbert, Jonathan Johnson to Face Off in Primary

Utah Governor Gary Herbert will face Republican Challenger Jonathan Johnson in a primary. Johnson received more delegate votes than Herbert at Saturday’s GOP State Convention.

Johnson criticized Governor Herbert for increasing taxes, supporting the Common Core among other issues.

Herbert touted Utah’s high school graduation rates, which have risen under his governance, the state’s relatively low tax burden and low per capita federal spending.  

“I have a record and it’s a good record,” Herbert said. “And I will proudly stand by it.”

Herbert said he lost votes over his support SB 54, which opened the caucus and convention system to candidates who collect signatures. The Governor did gather signatures to secure a place on the primary ballot but Johnson did not.

Speaking to reporters after the delegate vote, Johnson said he’s confident his message will resonate with voters.    

“There are still a lot of issues where the governor and I are very different whether it’s common core, lands, reliance on the federal government, taxes,” Johnson said. “Those are things that Republicans all across the state, whether they’re part of the convention or not care about.”

The Democratic Party on Saturday, nominated Mike Weinholtz to challenge the winner of the Republican primary. Weinholtz announced Saturday his wife Donna is under investigation for possession of marijuana, which he says she uses for relief of chronic pain. Weinholtz used the opportunity to reiterate his support for the legalization of medical marijuana and full Medicaid expansion, which he said most Utahns agree with.

“All Utahns want to see our education funding stop being last in the nation, but Governor Herbert and our Republican controlled legislature don’t care,” Weinholtz said.

The Utah Primary Election is on June 28th

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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