> Second District Republican contender Milt Hanks threw out charges at the last minute before balloting on Saturday, alleging that four candidates conspired to oust rival Chris Stewart with some damaging information.
Hanks, the Eureka mayor, said hopefuls David Clark, Cherilyn Eagar, Howard Wallack and Chuck Williams came to him recently to say they had negative information on Stewart and that they all needed to band together to get rid of him.
"Are we back to the hog trough of backroom deals and backstabbing politics?" Hanks said. "I'm sorry if that's what Dave learned in the House. If that's what Howard learned in business, I don't need it. If that's what Cherilyn learned, I don't need it. If that's what Chuck learned, I don't need it."
The allegations brought some cheers by delegates, but left many of them a tad stunned.
Hanks said after his speech that his rivals came to him but didn't tell him what they had on Stewart. Shortly after, though, a typewritten note was circulated among delegates saying that Stewart had a hand in the two-year-old controversial "Temple mailer" that attacked ex-Sen. Bob Bennett and that Stewart was embellishing his military record.
"It's the same stuff I shoveled off the floor of the chicken coup," Hanks said.
Stewart said the charges in the circulated note were offensive and degrades the political process. "It's just not true," he said.
And those named by Hanks said they had no idea what he was talking about.
"This has just been the opposite of what he alluded to," Clark said. "I'm offended that the truth was not spoken."
The allegations surfaced only minutes before delegates headed to vote.
-- Thomas Burr
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