Republicans replace outgoing doctor with another in the Utah Senate — and he may face yet another physician in the November election

Brian Zehnder replaces Sen. Brian Shiozawa; Also, Adam Robertson replaces Rep. Dean Sanpei.<br>

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, left, listens as Sen. Brian E. Shiozawa, R-Salt Lake City, addresses the Health Reform Task Force during an October meeting to discuss where Utah is at on covering low-income residents falling in the current insurance gap. With Shiozawa leaving for a job in Colorado, Republican delegates selected Brian Zehnder to replace him.

Voters in Senate District 8 in southeast Salt Lake County apparently need doctors, at least politically.

Republican delegates voted Tuesday to select Brian Zehnder, a medical doctor, to replace Sen. Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, another doctor, who resigned to move to Denver to become the regional director of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Meanwhile, a Democrat who has announced she plans to run for that office in the November election is Kathie Allen — yet another doctor who ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year against new Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah.

Zehnder was among nine GOP candidates who ran for the vacant seat, and won after three rounds of voting by Republican delegates in the Senate district.

In the final round, he beat Mark Griffin, who was general counsel for Overstock.com, by a 96-68 vote margin. Zehnder’s name now goes to Gov. Gary Herbert for formal appointment.

“With a caring spirit and a never-give-up approach, we can improve the health care of our state and solve problems together,” Zehnder recently told The Salt Lake Tribune. “I have a balanced approach to solving the needs of the citizens of the state. I am deeply passionate about the needs in our community.”

Meanwhile, GOP delegates in Provo also voted Tuesday to select a replacement for Rep. Dean Sanpei, R-Provo, who resigned to take a new job in Colorado.

They elected Adam Robertson by a 61-39 percent margin over Leo Lines. Robertson is an electrical engineer who operates a business related to counter-terrorism technologies.

“I feel very strongly about having the government be efficient, ensuring that government spending is kept in check and that our precious tax dollars are spent only on the highest-priority items,” he told The Tribune recently.