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Morgan rancher to face entrenched incumbent in Republican primary

No Morgan resident has served in state legislature for almost 50 years


Logan Wilde, Morgan County’s current Council Chairman, may be new to state politics.  But that is not stopping him from taking on a well-entrenched incumbent.  At Saturday’s GOP state convention, Wilde got enough delegate votes to land him on June’s primary ballot against Mel Brown, who is running for his sixth consecutive term in the Utah House of Representatives representing District 53.

While Brown had 18 more points than Wilde at the convention, he did not get the 60 percent needed to avoid a primary election for the two-year spot.  Wilde, who discontinued his initial effort to gather signatures as a means to securing a spot in the primary election, was pleased with garnering 42 percent of delegates’ votes Saturday.  He said his success was due to his recent efforts to visit delegates in the five counties of District 53—Morgan, Summit, Daggett, Rich and Duchesne.

“I have been going from convention to convention, from county to county,” Wilde said.  “That made the difference.”

Brown said the last time he was on a primary ballot was in 2010, and this was “just another election.”

He has plenty of experience with elections, after serving for 10 years in District 53 and 13 years representing Salt Lake County.  In the most recent legislative session, he was on committees including the Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee as well as the Health and Human Services Interim Committee.  A Coalville resident, Brown is also part of a family-owned dairy farm.

Wilde, a Croydon rancher overseeing 17,000 acres, began serving on the Morgan County Council in 2013 while also serving as a Croydon Pipeline company board member and managing partner of M.R. Wilde and Sons.  He also served on the Morgan Conservation District and the Utah Conservation Commission as a legislative contact.

Wilde does not consider himself a “polished politician,” but notes that may be just what people want.

Those deciding between Brown and Wilde will be registered Republicans voting by mail by the June 28 deadline.  Morgan Republicans will also see Republicans Governor Gary Herbert and Jonathan Johnson on the ballot.

Wilde’s campaign strategy at this point is to sign people up to be a Republican so they can vote for him on June 28.  If Wilde survives the primary election, he would be attempting to secure a spot few Morgan residents have held in recent years. Since 1970, a Morgan resident has not served in either the State House or Senate.  That is almost 50 years too long, Wilde said.

Since 1896, 20 Morgan residents have served on the Utah House of Representatives including James A. Anderson, Earl Butters, James W. Carrigan, C.M. Croft, H.H. Croft, Bert S. Dickson, Richard R. Fry, R.T. Fry, Daniel Heiner, Alonzo F. Hopkin, James S. Hopkin, John Hopkin, Golden Porter, Joseph R. Porter, Joseph E. Rees, W. Mark Thackeray, Clarence Thurston, Glen Thurston, Charles A. Welch, and Faye E. Williams.  From 1896 to 1970, Morgan County continually had a resident serving on the State House of Representatives.  The most recent was Glen Thurston from 1963 to 1970.

The only Morgan resident to serve in the Utah State Senate was Alonzo F. Hopkin, from 1935 to 1962.  Joseph H. Francis served as the state’s secretary of agriculture from 1965 to 1977.

Thanks to the Morgan Historical Society and Linda Smith for providing The Morgan County News with the above list of Morgan residents who have served in state positions over the years.

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