OGDEN -- More than 300 Democrats turned out Saturday to choose their state delegates, listen to candidates' speeches and get revved up for November.
"We're going to go out and change this state," said Jim Dabakis, Utah State Democratic Party chairman.
Delegates chose candidates for Districts 9 and 10. The candidates had to have more than 60 percent of the votes from the delegates in their district to avoid running in a primary election in June.
Former Rep. Neil Hansen, D-Ogden, was chosen over Ron Antencio and will run against Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, in District 9. Christopher Winn was selected over Kent Winward and will run against Rep. Dixon Pitcher, R-Uintah, in District 10.
Districts 11 and 29 cross county boundaries, so Democrats will decide at the state convention who will be on the November ballot, said Steve Olsen, Weber County Democratic Party chairman.
Reed Richards, a delegate for District 10, said he has not seen a crowd like the one that showed up at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College for the convention.
Delegates had to vote on who to send to the April 21 state convention.
"In the past few years, we've not had to do that, because there was just enough delegates," Richards said.
Weber County Attorney Dee Smith also addressed the convention as a candidate for Utah attorney general.
"I understand the challenges of a Democrat getting elected into office, but this state needs an independent voice," he said.
Utah needs an attorney general who does not file "message lawsuits that waste the taxpayers' dollars when we know we won't succeed," Smith said, referring to moves by the Utah Legislature during its recently completed session to get public federal lands back under state control.
He said he's committed to protecting public lands for all.
Conventiongoers also heard from candidates for Congress.
Donna McAleer and Ryan Combe spoke, saying they plan to protect Utah's federal lands. Both are running against 1st District Congressman Rob Bishop, R-Utah.
"The state wants our federal lands, arguing they plan to use the money for education," Combe said.
He pointed out that Utah's high school and college graduation rate has decreased over the past few years.
"It's time for something new," Combe said.
McAleer said if federal lands become state-controlled, the political move will profit only a few.
"I plan to protect the beauty of the public lands by preserving the federal lands," she said.
"Let's give Rob Bishop a well-deserved retirement."
Other speakers included Peter Clemens, running for state Senate District 19; Brent Andrews, running for state Senate District 20; Heather Cooke on behalf of her husband, Peter Cooke, running for governor; Christopher Stout, running for state treasurer; Mark Sage, candidate for state auditor; U.S. Senate candidate Pete Ashdown; and Ed Allen speaking for Scott Howell, also a candidate for the U.S. Senate.