- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Republicans and Democrats have chosen their nominees for Salt Lake County seats at separate weekend conventions.

The three-way Republican race went to Micah Bruner, who took 71 percent of the vote. He’ll run against Democrat Jenny Wilson to replace County Councilman Randy Horiuchi, who is retiring. If Bruner wins, county council Republicans will hold a veto-proof majority.

Several incumbents lost at the Republican gathering. Salt Lake County auditor Greg Hawkins lost his bid for a second term to Scott Tingley, who promised to improve the relationship between the auditor’s office and the city council.

Current County Assessor Kevin Jacobs was forced into primary election after Jake Parkinson, deputy Tooele County assessor, won 53 percent. Both advance to the primary.

Jacobs in September took the office after his boss left to serve a mission for the Mormon church.

Four-term incumbent Rep. Jim Bird of West Jordan was ousted by GOP activist and political consultant Kim Coleman, who is also the founder of charter school Monticello Academy.

At the Democratic Convention, women made gains in races for county seats. Sandra Hollins advanced toward becoming the state’s first black female legislator by winning the bid to replace retiring House Minority Leader Rep. Jennifer Seelig of Salt Lake City.

The race to succeed Utah Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, went to former Salt Lake County Council member Jani Iwamoto. She defeated former Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero.

Romero and Iwamoto waged the most expensive legislative race in either county party to date, The Salt Lake Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1m2sLq7). Before the convention, Romero raised $31,000, surpassing Iwamoto’s $27,000.

The Democratic Women’s Caucus endorsed Iwamoto, who said more women are needed in the Legislature. She will face Republican nominee Holladay City Councilwoman Sabrina Petersen.

Also at the Democratic Convention, Associate Deputy Salt Lake County Mayor Justin Miller won the bid for the seat of Rep. Lynn Hemingway, D-Millcreek, who is retiring. Miller defeated Sophia Hawes, who was vying to become the Utah party’s first-ever transgender nominee, and Amy Fowler, a public defender and gay rights activist.

Former Democratic County Auditor Jeff Hatch will face Christopher Stout in the June 24 primary to regain the post.

Republican delegates also applauded Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes for defending the state’s same-sex marriage ban last week in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Republican, addressed the group, too, criticizing Obamacare.

The weekend nominations come in advance of the parties’ statewide conventions, just under two weeks away.

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