Sen. Orrin Hatch, Gov. Gary Herbert convention races too close to call

Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop laugh at a remark during a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate construction of the first Falcon Hill commerical building at Hill Air Force Base in Layton, Utah, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s too close to call whether Gov. Gary Herbert and Sen. Orrin Hatch have enough delegate support at Saturday’s state Republican Party Convention to avoid a primary, a new poll shows.

The Utah Foundation survey of GOP delegates found both Herbert and Hatch had just one point over the 60 percent threshold needed to become the party’s nominee. Herbert’s closest challenger is former state representative Morgan Philpot and Hatch’s is former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist.

But the poll, conducted by Dan Jones & Associates for the non-profit research group, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.43 percent, making the outcome of the convention unpredictable.

In the hotly contested 4th Congressional District race, Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love is leading with the support of 38 percent of the GOP delegates surveyed, followed by former state Reps. Carl Wimmer, with 25 percent, and Steve Sandstrom, with 18 percent.

In the 2nd Congressional District race, author Chris Stewart is the leader, backed by 34 percent of the delegates surveyed. The next-highest response from delegates was that they were undecided, followed by former Utah House Speaker Dave Clark, with 21 percent.

The poll of more than 400 of the nearly 4,000 GOP delegates was taken April 4-11. The congressional district results have a margin of error of plus or minus 9.1 percent.

More information is available at the foundation’s website, utahfoundation.org.

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