SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Mitt Romney won the Utah Republican presidential primary on Tuesday, claiming all 40 GOP delegates in a state where he has been hugely popular.
The contest was the last of a primary season that started with a crowded GOP field of presidential candidates in January and ended with Romney as the only candidate campaigning for votes. Romney already had more than enough delegates to claim the GOP nomination.
A Mormon and graduate of Brigham Young University who oversaw the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Romney took 90 percent of the vote in Utah's 2008 presidential primary. More than 60 percent of residents in the state are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Other Utah races include a challenge to incumbent U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch by former state Sen. Dan Liljenquist, a contest to replace retiring state Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, and races for one U.S. House seat and 17 state House and Senate seats.
Hatch barely missed winning the outright nomination at April's GOP convention, falling short by fewer than three dozen votes from the nearly 4,000 delegates.
Liljenquist has sought to capitalize on some of the momentum that saw the ouster of then-three-term GOP Sen. Bob Bennett in 2010, fueled by a tea party surge that is much less united this time around. He has argued Hatch has supported wasteful spending and earmarks, while Hatch has trumpeted his experience and potential placement as chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee if he wins.
"We feel great," Liljenquist said Tuesday afternoon as he spent the day greeting voters around the Salt Lake City area.
"We have very motivated people," he said. "We're really excited but we'll see how it goes."
Hatch, meanwhile, visited his campaign headquarters earlier in the day, where he was greeted by a contingent of family, including his daughters and grandchildren.
"This is such a pleasant surprise," he said. "You guys are going to make me cry."
Two Republicans are vying to replace Shurtleff, including his chief deputy, John Swallow. Shurtleff is stepping aside after a dozen years in office. He has been at forefront of national issues, including immigration policy and identity theft.
The winner in the race between Swallow and Salt Lake City attorney Sean Reyes will advance to face Weber County Attorney Dee Smith, the only Democratic contender, in the general election.
Shurtleff has endorsed Swallow, his chief lieutenant since 2009.
In the only U.S. House primary, two Democratic political newcomers face off for the right to challenge Republican incumbent Rob Bishop in District 1, which encompasses 10 counties in the north, including Kaysville and Park City after redistricting.
Ryan Combe, of South Ogden faces Park City's Donna McAleer.
Combe, 31, has worked as an entrepreneur, consultant and university marketing director. McAleer, 46, is a West Point graduate and former Army platoon leader who nearly qualified for the 2002 Olympics as a female bobsled team driver.
Combe and McAleer both have supported gay marriage, while Bishop voted in favor of the constitutional amendment banning it.
Bishop, 60, of Brigham City, is seeking his sixth term in Congress.
Combe bills himself as "a new generation" candidate and says Utah voters want new leadership in Washington from a lifelong resident of the state.
"The biggest thing I learned since starting this process is that we have lots of people in the community fighting for things and working hard to make it a better place," Combe said. "What we need in government are people to facilitate."
McAleer, who is from Boston but has lived in Park City for 13 years, is hoping to become just the fourth woman to represent Utah in Congress.
She says she has what it takes to bridge gaps and build consensus.
"We need someone who has a broad perspective and ability to bring disparate people from disparate sides together," McAleer said.
In the governor's race, two Constitution Party candidates challenge each other to run against GOP Gov. Gary Herbert and a Democrat in November.
Homebuilders Kirk Pearson and Brandon Nay say they've been friends for years and would be happy if either one of them wins the primary to challenge Herbert and Democrat Peter Cooke, a retired two-star general who was unopposed in the primary. Utah has not elected a Democratic governor since Scott Matheson in 1980.
"I can't say I'm the better candidate out of the two of us, but either one of us will be better than what we got," Nay said.
West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder is hoping GOP voters select him to run for Salt Lake County mayor despite his brush with notoriety from writing news stories for Utah outlets under a false name.
Winder faces management consultant Mark Crockett, a former county council member.
Crockett said voters question Winder's trustworthiness after he admitted to writing flattering stories about his city under a false name for area publications. Winder believes voters will forgive him.
Winder said he'll be more aggressive on economic development than incumbent Mayor Peter Corroon, who is not seeking re-election, while Crockett said he's the only candidate with business experience.
The GOP winner in that race will face state Democratic Sen. Ben McAdams in the general election.
AP writers Lynn DeBruin and Paul Foy contributed to this report.