According to documents posted on the Federal Elections Commission's Web site, Republican activist Cherilyn Eagar has officially entered the race for U.S. Senate.
Eagar, an outspoken Holladay businesswoman, plans to make her announcement Thursday.
The 58-year-old mother of seven and grandmother of eight has been compared to Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
"You might say I've arrived when people equate me to her," Eagar told The Tribune this week. "I'm flattered -- she got tossed into a race, had to quickly get up to speed and certainly speaks out on the issues."
Eagar joins a fray already flush with Republicans: 3-term incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, former Utah County GOP Chairman Tim Bridgewater and South Jordan businessman James Williams, who announced his first run for office in a news conference call Wednesday. The GOP nominee will face off against Democrat Sam Granato in November 2010.
Williams, a member of Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty, said Wednesday he plans to run a grass-roots campaign fueled by motivation and a fresh outlook rather than big bucks.
"The best hope for our country and our families is to return to our core conservative principles," said the 36-year-old Williams, citing fiscal discipline, accountability, strong national security, limited government and immigration reform as key components.
Eagar made her mark on public policy last year when she pushed a plan to kill the International Baccalaureate program used in some high schools that she decried as a propaganda tool of the United Nations. The effort ultimately failed.
She touts herself as the one true conservative in the race, and said she plans to tap the well of disenfranchised voters. She points to freshman Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who bumped longtime Congressman Chris Cannon from office in last year's election.
"I've also been compared to Jason Chaffetz in a skirt," Eagar joked, adding that she'll encourage him to start wearing a kilt.
"I'm running for serious reasons," Eagar said, "but at the same time we can have some fun and keep it interesting."
At this point Eagar believes her chances for surviving the nominating process are good. Republicans first are tested in their state convention, where the top two voter getters advance to a primary unless one secures 60 percent of the delegate vote.
"All I have to say about Bridgewater and Shurtleff is two words: John McCain," Eagar said, referring to the fact both men supported the losing GOP presidential candidate last year over Mitt Romney.
Eagar backed Romney, who was far the favorite among Utah Republicans.