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Herbert's GOP challenger says he'll force Governor into Primary

Herbert's Republican challenger wants to force a primary

(KUTV) Governor Herbert's Republican challenger confidently predicted this week he will force the governor into a primary.

"A lot of delegates I know support me," said Jonathan Johnson, in a 2News interview on Thursday. "I think if he did not gather signatures there might not be a primary. I think I can beat him 60 (percent) plus one."

Johnson's comments followed a luncheon sponsored by the Utah Foundation, which delved into what the research group said are the top issues among Utah residents, with healthcare and air quality at the fore.

Four major party candidates spoke at the luncheon, and while the give and take was noticeably polite---especially given the hurly burly of the presidential race---the men who want to be governor were clearly in campaign mode.

Governor Herbert commented it was fitting that he was the first to address the gathering of business and political leaders, because "Utah is number one in about everything that we're doing.

"I'm prepared to go to any venue and defend my record," the governor told 2News. "I run on the fact that Utah is better on my watch."

Johnson called Herbert "a nice caretaker," but said businesses and entrepreneurs are largely responsible for Utah's economic climate.

He accused the governor of signing into law hundreds of bills a year, but when asked how many he would sign, Johnson would not give a number.

"I'm not going to put a quota on the legislature," Johnson said.

Asked if he would veto more bills than Herbert, Johnson said, "Oh you bet, he's got the lowest veto percentage of any governor in recent history."

Herbert said Johnson "tried to spend a lot of money to stack the delegates" to the state Republican Convention---but governor thinks he can "do 60 (percent) plus one.."

Until the still contested SB 54, that was the threshold to end a race at the convention. If one candidate garnered that much support, he or she was the nominee, race over.

Not now. Candidates can also get on the primary ballot by collecting signatures. Herbert has already done it. Johnson is not seeking signatures, but is making his case only with GOP delegates.

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