Tomorrow night in Kanab, political veteran Mike Noel will face off against Justice party candidate Ty Markham for what promises to be a fascinating debate, given such contentious issues as Noel's involvement in the Lake Powell pipeline .
Noel has represented District 73 since 2003, along with being general manager of the Kane County Water Conservancy District and ranching and farming. Alliance for a Better Utah filed a request for a Hatch Act investigation of Noel over alleged conflicts of interest between his positions in Kane County and the Utah Legislature.
Ty Markham runs a hospitality business in Torrey, is a town council member and a board member of Wayne County Business Association. She only stood against Noel, she says, because no one else did. "If anyone else would have stepped up to the plate, I would have supported them, but no one did."
Noel ran unopposed in both the primary and general election in 2010 for District 73. Markham was at the Lieutenant Governor's Office in Salt Lake City on the deadline day for candidates to file. She is a founding member of the Justice Party, she says, and was at the Capitol "to make sure things run smoothly" for Justice Party candidates getting on the ballot.
She had called 20 people, she says, in the run-up to the candidate deadline filing day to encourage them to run against Noel. But on the deadline day, when she asked if anyone were running against Noel, she was told, "No." She paid the $14.50 and now finds herself debating Noel Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Kanab Middle School.
District 73 is the largest district geographically in Utah, comprising six counties: Wayne, Garfield, Kane, San Juan, Piute, Beaver and part of Sevier.