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Decision day nears for Utah party delegates
State party conventions » After being center of attention for weeks, delegate votes Saturday.


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Sitting in the city council chambers for a debate sponsored by the Davis County Young Republicans earlier this month, Poole and his wife, Lori, listened to six candidates weigh in on reducing the deficit.

He said he’d narrowed his choices to Chris Stewart, the Glenn Beck-inspired candidate who has written several books and touts his military experience, and David Clark, Utah’s former House speaker, a banker.

At a glance

Republican

Where, when » The state GOP Convention is set to begin 10 a.m. Saturday at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.

The races:

Governor » Gary Herbert, Morgan Philpot, David Kirkham, Kenneth Sumsion, Lane Ronnow, William Skokos

U.S. Senate » Orrin Hatch, Dan Liljenquist, Chris Herrod, Kevin Fisk, Loy Brunson, Dale Ash, Timothy Aalders, William “Dub” Lawrence, David Chiu, Jeremy Friedbaum

1st Congressional District » Rob Bishop, Jacqueline Smith, Leonard Fabiano

2nd District » Chris Stewart, David Clark, Cherilyn Eagar, Jason Buck, Bob Fuehr, Chuck Williams, John Willoughby, Howard Wallack, Edward Mayerhofer, Jeramey McElhaney, Milton Hanks

3rd District » Jason Chaffetz, Lynn Wardle, Brian Jenkins

4th District » Mia Love, Carl Wimmer, Stephen Sandstrom, Jay Cobb, Kenneth Gray

Attorney general » John Swallow, Sean Reyes

State auditor » Auston Johnson, John Dougall

Democratic

Where, when: The state Democratic Party Convention is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City.

The races:

U.S. Senate » Pete Ashdown, Scott Howell

1st Congressional District » Ryan Combe, Donna McAleer

2nd District » Jay Seegmiller, Dean Collinwood, Michael Small

3rd District » Soren Simonsen, Richard Clark

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But Lori Poole, who has gone with her husband to 21 of 22 events in the last five weeks, gently reminded him about Cherilyn Eagar, the only woman in the field.

"I like how she has been in some of the big fights at all levels," she said.

He agreed and said the two of them have spent an inordinate amount of time talking about candidates over the past five weeks. They said their three children — 17, 15 and 12 — have become savvy about the campaign, though the 12-year-old girl is the only one who chimes in with thoughts on the races.

With all of their input, Poole agreed Eagar, Clark and Stewart all still had a shot with him.

The pitches » Among the things Poole has learned in the race for Senate is that Orrin Hatch believes Mitt Romney wants him to be finance chairman, Chris Herrod has strong ties to the Ukraine and Dan Liljenquist thinks it’s time for new blood in Washington.

"They all have their regular talking points," he said. "I’ve heard Swallow’s garage analogy a few times. You hear the same jokes."

But the Senate race was the easiest one for Poole to pick. He sided with Liljenquist early. Within the first week, in fact.


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"I liked what he had to say," Poole said. "Besides, if Washington is broken, why would we keep sending the same people back there to fix it?"

And Hatch linking to Romney didn’t help either. Poole has been slow to warm to the former Massachusetts governor and worried about the perception of him being a flip-flopper and not truly conservative. But he said he’ll vote for him and thinks that Romney at the top of the ticket will help Republicans overall in Utah.

Who will be on the ballot beneath likely candidates Obama and Romney, however, will be up to him and fellow delegates.

And Poole was still struggling two days before the convention.

He met with Reyes Thursday morning and was impressed. He said he’s "strongly" leaning toward him now, noting endorsements from lawyers for Reyes and politicians for Swallow. Thursday night, he met with Clark.

The long nights of wading through materials, listening to pitches and being treated like the most popular kid in school has been "a great experience," and he couldn’t think of anything he didn’t really like about it all.

However, he said the next time around, he might leave the gig to someone else.

"I’d like to see others get a chance at it," Poole said. "It’s an experience I think everyone should have."

dmontero@sltrib.comTwitter: @davemontero



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