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Rolly: GOP wants someone else to challenge Matheson
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Morgan Philpot might be feeling like the Rodney Dangerfield of the Utah Republican Party.

Ever since the young lawyer and former vice chair of the State Republican Committee announced he was running for Utah's 2nd Congressional District against Democrat Jim Matheson, the National Republican Congressional Committee has been busy courting other Republicans to run for the seat.

Utah House Speaker Dave Clark, R-Santa Clara, was courted for a while, but he has since let the powers that be know he is not interested at this time.

Now the GOP recruiters are coming after Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, one of the founders of the current House Conservative caucus.

Hughes has been to Washington, D.C., in recent weeks to meet with members of the NRCC and has had telephone conversations about a possible candidacy with the NRCC chair, Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas.

He left Friday morning for a trip with his wife to Mexico after the end of the legislative session. But before he left, he filed with the Salt Lake County Clerk to run for re-election in his House District 51.

Sources close to Hughes say he will be back Tuesday, in time to file for the congressional race, if he chooses. Filing deadline is Friday.

Hughes is finishing his fourth term in the House. The construction and property manager has not shied from controversy and has passionately pushed for conservative causes in the Legislature. His aggressive nature has gotten him in trouble at times and he battled an ethics complaint against him two years ago. The House Ethics Committee cleared him of all charges, but wrote him an official letter suggesting he tone down his style.

Even one of the legislators whose concerns helped fuel the ethics complaint, Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, said at the end of this session that Hughes has been a delight to work with and the two worked closely on a bill together.

Hughes co-hosts a weekly radio show on the conservative KTKK-AM (K-TALK) with Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper. They have had Philpot as a guest on the show and have praised his conservative stances.

That admiration may change soon.

Goliaths fall to a child » Several powerful insurance lobbyists were loaded for bear near the end of the legislative session. They had three solid votes on the Senate Health and Services Committee to defeat a bill that would require expanded coverage for prosthetic limbs. That was enough to kill the bill right there.

And the committee's chair, Sen. Chris Buttars, was solidly against the idea.

But before the vote, the committee heard from the public. One small girl, about 10 years old, got up to testify in support of the bill. She told the senators about her own prosthetic leg.

One senator, humoring the child, asked if he could see her prosthetic limb. She said sure and bounded up to the senators' table. She then hopped on one foot, with a good-natured smile the whole time, while she unstrapped her leg to give the senators a closer inspection.

The insurance lobbyists knew they were beat. The committee approved the bill unanimously and it eventually passed the Legislature.

prolly@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">prolly@sltrib.com

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