Sen. Don Ipson faces Chad Bennion, a former county GOP chair, in Utah Senate District 29 primary election

Ipson, who has logged a combined 15 years in the Utah House and Senate, came up short at the Washington County Republican convention in March.

Republican incumbent state Sen. Don Ipson is facing a stiff primary challenge from former state Rep. Chad Bennion in Senate District 29, which encompasses all of western Washington County.

Ipson, who has logged a combined 15 years in the Utah House and Senate, came up short at the Washington County Republican convention in March, losing to Bennion by a 58% to 42% margin.

Ipson served in the Utah House from 2008 to 2016, when he was appointed to the state Senate to replace Steve Urquhart who resigned in September of that year. During the 2013 legislative session, then-Rep. Ipson sponsored HB 61, which switched the name of Dixie State College to Dixie State University, which has since been changed to Utah Tech University.

During his years as a state representative, Bennion served in a variety of positions, including a stint as vice chair of the House Rules Committee. He was elected as chair of the Salt Lake County Republican Party in 2013 but resigned in March of the following year after being charged with several misdemeanor accounts of domestic violence stemming from an altercation with his wife at the time.

The charges were later dismissed after Bennion entered into a plea and abeyance agreement on one count of disorderly conduct and took an anger management course, according to a court docket. Bennion maintains he is innocent of the allegations.

To help voters make an informed choice, The Salt Lake Tribune asked both candidates to respond to questions on key issues. In doing so, The Tribune reserved the right to edit responses for length and clarity. Ipson’s answers are presented below but Bennion chose not to abide by The Tribune’s requirements, which were uniform for all candidates, and refused to allow his responses to be published.

1. Should Utah, while it actively supports housing and business development, also be looking for more sustainable and less fossil fuel and carbon-dependent energy sources?

Don Ipson: Given Utah’s unique geological landscape, I believe we have the ability to expand our energy sources. Carbon energy has been used for decades and has been enormously helpful in building Utah’s infrastructure. By implementing additional energy sources in our state, Utah has the potential to become a national leader in all forms of energy.

Chad Bennion: Did not respond.

2. Is climate change negatively impacting Utah, yes or no?

Ipson: No.

Bennion: Did not respond.

3. Should Utah do more to subsidize homeowners to conserve water? Should laws require large users to pay more for water? What other steps should state government take to deal with water scarcity?

Ipson: Utah and specifically southern Utah should be water-focused. Utah is the second-driest state in the nation. We can and should do more to deal with water scarcity. There should be higher costs and fines for large over-users of water as well as dedicated watering limits for suburban homeowners. We need to continue wise management of our water resources, including support for reuse projects that are being advocated for by our Washington County Water Conservancy District. We’re learning a lot. We need to take what we’ve learned and work to do more with less water.

Bennion: Did not respond.

4. Do you support building the Lake Powell Pipeline, yes or no?

Ipson: Yes.

Bennion: Did not respond.

5. Triggered after the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, Utah’s current law bans nearly all abortions — except in instances of sexual crimes, when there is a fatal fetal abnormality or when the mother’s life is at risk. For now, that law is currently on hold in the courts and an 18-run-upweek ban is active in Utah.

Should Utah’s trigger law have more or fewer restrictions?

Ipson: I am supportive of the current trigger law.

Bennion: Did not respond.

6. Are you voting for or against the constitutional amendment that removes the requirement that income taxes be used for education and social services?

Ipson: For.

Bennion: Did not respond.

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