OGDEN — The jockeying has started for the 2022 election season, at least for the District 10 seat in the Utah House.
The formal filing period for candidates is March 7-11 next year, but three hopefuls are already planning to vie for the Weber County post, including Rosemary Lesser, a Democrat and the incumbent. Two Republican hopefuls have also stepped forward — Lorraine Brown, who has vied for the seat previously, and Jill Koford, who had been serving on the Weber County Republican Party Executive Committee.
District 10 covers southern Ogden, part of South Ogden, northern Riverdale and northern Washington Terrace, according to the new district boundaries approved earlier this month by Utah lawmakers.
Lesser — appointed to the seat early this year after the death of Rep. Lou Shurtliff — hasn’t formally started campaign efforts, she said, citing a focus more on duties as the House representative. A slew of Democratic lawmakers and advocates for low-income Utahns announced plans last Wednesday to push for an end to the state’s sales tax on groceries in the 2022 Utah legislative session and Lesser will sponsor the planned measure.
Lesser is the only Democrat among Weber County’s delegation to the Utah Senate and Utah House.
Brown, a lawyer in Ogden, announced her plans on Friday to seek the District 10 post. She unsuccessfully ran for the post in 2020 and 2018.
“I am by profession and disposition a fearless advocate for principle,” she said in a statement. “I will not be bought by special interests or bow to political pressure, yet I am also uniquely capable of bridging the partisan divide in our legislature, facilitating open dialogue and creating solutions to our common problems.”
Brown had served as secretary of the Weber County Republican Party. But she stepped down in October after proposing change in how the local party apparatus picks its candidates, causing sparks among party leaders. She had proposed eliminating distinctions in the group’s bylaws between those who seek a place on the ballot solely through party convention and those who also go the signature-gathering route, a controversial issue among Utah Republicans.
Brown said the Legislature’s “best work” has come when seeking compromise. She singled out efforts on immigration and tax reform, on the expansion of Medicaid and in protecting “both religious freedom and the rights of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.”
She plans to seek a place on the ballot both by gathering signatures on petitions and at the party convention next spring. She also said she suspects more may run for the District 10 spot.
Koford, who also lives in Ogden, said she had been mulling a bid for political office. Now the time is right with her youngest child soon to graduate from high school.
“For me it’s all about personal responsibility, property rights,” said Koford, who runs a number of small businesses with her husband, Rod. “Limited government is good government.”
She has served the Weber County Republican Party in varied roles over the years, most recently as a member of the Weber County Republican Party Executive Board. She stepped down from the party post last month, though, as she started weighing a bid for the District 10 seat.
“We can do better for our kids, our neighbors and ourselves. We can do more to protect and preserve property rights and individual liberty. We can do more to cut back the regulations and red tape that so often bog down average people,” she said in a letter last month to her fellow Republicans in stepping down from the party leadership position. “Not only can ‘we’ do more — I can do more.”
Koford plans to seek a place on the ballot via nomination at next spring’s party convention.