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Rolly: Newt Gingrich stiffs Utah, may not make ballot
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Five Republicans have filed the necessary papers and $500 fee to qualify for the June 26 Utah presidential primary election, but with Rick Santorum dropping out of the race Tuesday, only four will be on the ballot.

Or possibly three.

Newt Gingrich's check bounced.

Utah Elections Director Mark Thomas said a designated agent for the Gingrich campaign brought the filing papers and a check for $500 in March, but the state was notified by the bank that the check had bounced. He said the office has tried to contact the Gingrich campaign through the telephone number and email provided on the application, but has not received a response.

Recently, the state sent a certified letter to the campaign, stating that if the fee isn't paid by April 20, Gingrich will be disqualified and will not be on the ballot.

Taking a stand • Josh Romney, son of Utah favorite son Mitt Romney, has endorsed Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love over four other Republicans in the race for Utah's 4th Congressional District.

"Mia Love is the right person to beat Jim Matheson. I'm going to do all I can to make sure she is the next member of Congress from Utah," Romney wrote in a mailer sent this week to delegates. He hosted a fundraising event for Love last week and says he will continue raising money for her campaign.

Rest of the story? • Mia Love's strongest challenger for the Republican nomination, according to the polls, is former state Rep. Carl Wimmer, of Herriman. Although he contributed $1,000 to the Romney campaign last year, he was one of the few Republican legislators who did not formally endorse Mitt Romney.

He then made comments at a debate in March held by the Utah Teen Age Republicans that indicated he might be favoring Ron Paul for the nomination. Some Facebook posters later questioned his commitment to Paul because of his contribution to Romney, but the confusion may have damaged his standing with the Romney folks.

Bipartisan support — I mentioned in Monday's column that the Utah County Republican Party will hold its convention Saturday at Salem Hills High School at the same time students will be taking the rigorous ACT exams that will count toward their college entrance eligibility.

School officials assured me they are keeping the test takers and the political party revelers as far away from each other as possible so the teens will not be distracted.

Well, not to be outdone, the Salt Lake County Democratic Party is having its convention Saturday at Murray High School — at the same time high school students will be taking the ACT at that school.

Murray District spokeswoman Dee Wright says the tests will be conducted on the third floor, as far away as possible from the convention activities.

At least if the kids trying to get a good ACT score are distracted, it will be a bipartisan effort.

Looking a gift horse in the mouth? • After The Salt Lake Tribune ran a story in March about former legislators using their associations in the Legislature to become successful paid lobbyists, Josie Valdez, a Democratic candidate for State Senate District 8, posted the story on her Facebook with the added comment that her opponent at the Democratic convention was "one of those."

She was referring to Ty McCartney, a former legislator who later became a lobbyist but is no longer active.

Valdez later took that post down, maybe because in McCartney's lobbyist financial filings in 2008, he disclosed that he had taken five legislators and three of their spouses to dinner during the National Conference of State Legislatures convention in New Orleans, spending $583.96.

Rep. Mark Wheatley, D-Murray, was one of the legislators listed on the filing. And Valdez, Wheatley's wife, was one of the spouses treated to the free dinner by the legislator-turned-lobbyist.

prolly@sltrib.com

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