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  Utah Governor's Future Uncertain
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ContributorGerald Farinas 
Last EditedGerald Farinas  May 06, 2004 11:14am
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CategoryNews
MediaNews Service - Associated Press
News DateThursday, May 6, 2004 06:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionUtah Governor's Future Uncertain
The Honolulu Advertiser

Political insiders are betting on a former diplomat to emerge as a top nominee for governor at the Utah Republican convention Saturday, possibly replacing Gov. Olene Walker as the party's standard-bearer. Jon Huntsman Jr., former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore during the first Bush administration, has quickly risen to frontrunner status at a time when Walker has enjoyed a particularly bumpy ride for an incumbent. Walker, 73, is a former lieutenant governor who is finishing Gov. Mike Leavitt's term and running for a full term of her own. Leavitt left Utah last November to become administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Many within her own party have viewed Walker as a caretaker and merely another candidate who waited on Leavitt to step down after three terms. Walker has sought to appeal to the party's more conservative wing, which views her as too moderate. She has tried to assure delegates that she is loyal to anti-abortion and pro-gun rights stances. But Walker also has publicly feuded with party leaders and resisted some conservative causes, led by her opposition to private school vouchers and pushing for increased public education funding. Each of the convention's 3,500 delegates will rank the candidates. If no one wins 60 percent of the convention vote, the top two vote-getters advance to the June primary.
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