Weber Republicans dump Zogmaister; Ebert wins nomination

Saturday , April 12, 2014 - 10:23 PM

Cathy McKitrick, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — After two rounds of voting, James Ebert nailed his party’s nomination, taking 67 percent of the delegate vote at Saturday’s Weber County Republican convention.

That tally of about 600 delegates ended Commissioner Jan Zogmaister’s bid for a third term, and gave Ebert an easy ride into office because there is no Democratic contender to challenge him this November.

Candidates need to net 60 percent of the delegate vote to win at convention. In the first round of voting, James Humphreys — a fiscal conservative who is president of Utah’s Log Cabin Republican Party — was eliminated with 14 percent of the vote, Ebert took 52 percent and Zogmaister 34 percent — a total she almost fully retained in the second round.

In his initial stump speech Saturday, Ebert, a lieutenant in Riverdale’s Police Department, spoke of growing up in a single-parent household, helping his mother at her 7-Eleven night job and becoming the first in his family to graduate from college.

He drew hearty applause from the crowd when he spoke of his opposition to the $45 million Library bond that county voters approved last June.

“The current political climate we have concerning the library has become a very strong point of interest and concern,” Ebert said, “and we need to understand that it almost tripled our county debt.”

Prior to Ebert’s speech before the second vote, Humphreys rose to signal his continued opposition to Zogmaister remaining in office. He was followed by Commission Chairman Kerry Gibson, who urged delegates to support Ebert.

“You give me a man who is willing to stand up for those things that he’s passionate about . . . willing to get along and work with anyone, regardless of the circumstance, I will show you a proud and powerful Weber County Commission,” Gibson said. “This is the time, this is the place. Let’s save the millionaires some money, and elect James Ebert as our next Weber County commissioner.”

Delegates also decided the Weber County Attorney’s race Saturday, giving Deputy County Attorney Chris Allred 79 percent of the vote over challenger Rick Westmoreland, a criminal prosecutor in Davis County. The County Attorney seat came open after incumbent Dee Smith, a Democrat, chose not to seek re-election. Allred now runs unopposed.

Delegates did send two races to a June primary. In the Recorder/Surveyor’s vote, Leann Kilts took 55 percent in a contest against her boss, two-term incumbent Ernest Rowley, a licensed surveyor who garnered 45 percent.

Kilts, lead mapper in the Recorder’s side of the office, led an unsuccessful effort in January to separate the combined department due to workplace tensions.

In state House District 7 — a seat vacated when Rep. Ryan Wilcox resigned to take a job with U.S. Sen. Mike Lee — Justin Fawson took 52 percent of the vote over Dan Deuel’s 48 percent.

Friday evening, Weber GOP’s Central Committee Legislative District 7 members selected Fawson to serve out the remainder of Wilcox’s term through December. Fawson or Deuel will face off against Democrat Camille Neider and Libertarian Roger Condie in November.

State Attorney General Sean Reyes, just back from 10th Circuit Court battles over same-sex marriage, roused the audience as he slammed Colorado for legalizing marijuana and having too many anti-gun laws.

“I’m happy to be back in America,” Reyes said to loud applause.

But what brought delegates to their feet were his comments in support of Amendment 3, Utah’s same-sex marriage ban that voters passed in 2004.

“It’s not just traditional marriage that’s at stake, which is a critical issue, but it’s a state’s sovereign and constitutional right to be able to determine what traditional marriage is,” Reyes said to a chorus of whoops, hollers and loud applause.

State Republican Party Chairman James Evans told delegates that Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, will visit a new call center in Utah County to spur GOP efforts to reclaim the U.S. Senate this November.

“We are an exporter of conservatism and republicanism,” Evans said. “Through our call center, we’re helping other states get their Republicans elected so we can take back the Senate.”

Contact reporter Cathy McKitrick at 801-625-4214 or Follow her on Twitter at @catmck.

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