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The Salt Lake Tribune

Who Will Replace State Senator?
By Rebecca Walsh 
June 15, 2003 

Davis County Republicans deliberately picked only one person last week for Gov. Mike Leavitt to consider as a replacement for Sen. David Steele, R-West Point.

And party Chairman Todd Weiler duly forwarded on Friday the name of 35-year-old Lagoon marketing director Sheldon Killpack.

But the unusual way party delegates picked Killpack has raised some questions. The governor's spokeswoman, Natalie Gochnour, said Leavitt's staff was reviewing the case. The questions, she said, are routine.

Steele, a 17-year Capitol Hill veteran, resigned earlier this month to focus on his job and spend more time with his family.

State law requires that party members follow "standard procedure" when selecting candidates for the governor to appoint to vacant legislative seats.

Thursday night, more than 100 Davis County delegates voted in rounds of "instant runoff preferential voting," where five candidates were progressively narrowed to two.

Before the votes, the delegates amended the proposed convention rules to forward the name of the candidate who received 50 percent of the vote plus one. In the final vote, Killpack received 59 votes. Former State Rep. Paul Ray garnered 57 votes.

Normally, under state Republican Party rules, a candidate who receives 60 percent of the delegates' votes is the lone appointment. If neither candidate receives 60 percent, both names are forwarded. However, the county Republican Party's rules allow delegate amendments.

"The question is: What does standard procedure mean?" Weiler asked.

"You could argue the standard process was followed. On the other hand, you could argue the standard procedure was not followed."

Weiler says county delegates were determined to send just one name to Leavitt.

"The delegates want to keep the decision-making power at the grass-roots level," he said. "They did not want to send two names on."

Senate President Al Mansell said he believes that is the delegates' prerogative.

"It would seem to me they could change their own rules," Mansell said. " With those kind of numbers, the delegates make the choice."

Whoever Leavitt appoints to replace Steele will face a November 2004 election. The winner of that race will finish the remaining two years of Steele's term.


Lagoon Executive to Fill Senate Seat
Follow--Up: Salt Lake Tribune
June 18, 2003

Lagoon marketing director Sheldon Killpack will replace former state Sen. David Steele in representing northern Davis County. Gov. Mike Leavitt on Tuesday appointed Killpack, 35, a political novice, to the seat.

Killpack was nominated in a Davis County Republican Party miniconvention last week. Delegates changed the convention rules to guarantee only one candidate was forwarded to Leavitt. Killpack edged out former state Rep. Paul Ray.

Killpack led the effort to combine three Davis County chambers of commerce and served as the Davis chamber's first chairman. He was a member of the Utah Transit Authority commuter rail integration team. He and his wife, Nicole, live in Syracuse with their four children.

After 17 years in the Senate, Steele resigned to focus on his job and family.

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