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Herbert Gets a Primary Challenge in Utah Herbert Gets a Primary Challenge in Utah

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Politics

Herbert Gets a Primary Challenge in Utah

November 11, 2011

The first primary challenger to Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has emerged, and it's state Rep. Ken Sumsion.

"I can work with the Legislature. I can work with the citizens of the state. I feel it's our time. It's our time as a state," Sumsion told the Deseret News. "We can step out and lead."

Sumsion also chaired the state legislature's redistricting committee, and during the redistricting process, he raised some questions about whether the governor's staff pressured lawmakers on redistricting. Questions about whether Herbert was trying to influence the process to make Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson's district safer for the Democrat were raised by others, including Matheson's 2010 GOP opponent. The thinking went, if Matheson was satisfied with his district, he would not challenge Herbert in the governor's race.

Herbert signed the redistricting map that passed the legislature. Meanwhile, Matheson has not ruled out a gubernatorial run, though he has said he won't run for the Senate in 2012.

Herbert is unpopular on the right in Utah, and has angered many tea party activists in the state. Sumsion, as the Deseret News points out, is one of the founders of the Legislature's conservative Patrick Henry caucus.

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