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BYU Student Elected As National Delegate

This story was written by Joshua Flake, The Daily Universe

Salt Lake City's Salt Palace filled with Democrats from around the state Friday and Saturday as the Utah Democratic Party held its state convention. Democrats gathered to listen to speeches, campaign for candidates and vote for national delegates.

"I'm fired up and ready to go," said Christopher Stowe during his campaign speech to be elected a national delegate. "As a Democrat from Utah County, I was a dying breed, but this election year has brought Democrats out of the woodwork, and I am glad to have them standing with us."

Stowe, a former BYU student who ran for Provo City Council last year, attended the state convention in hopes of representing the third congressional district (including Utah County) as a national delegate for Sen. Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in August.

Stowe's wife, BYU student Randi Stowe, prefers Sen. Hillary Clinton for president, but she supported her husband Friday.

While Stowe received congratulations from many of the voters present for his good speech, BYU student and political science major, Brian Spittler, won the vote for male national delegate for Obama.

"I've poured my whole heart and soul into this," Spittler said during his speech. He told the voters his student organization, BYU for Obama, started with a few students and now has more than 200 active members.

He said he helped to register 1200 Democrats on BYU campus to which he received applause during his speech.

Spittler said he wanted to be a national delegate to support Obama because of the number of people who have become involved in politics in the last six months.

"The youth can relate to him [Obama]," Spittler said. "He's a real person; he's a real guy."

Other delegates elected in the third district were Millicent Lewis for Obama and Jordon Payell and Emily Rushton for Clinton.

The Associated Press reported Obama finally overtook Clinton in number of superdelegates over the weekend, which makes Clinton's chances for winning the Democratic nomination grim.

"I think we want a Democrat [for president] very badly," said Mary Lou Huffman, a retired teacher living in Pleasant Grove. "Republicans have set us on the road to ruin."

Huffman ran for national delegate for Clinton in the third district but lost to Emily Rushton. The Utah Democratic Party appointed Rushton an at-large delegate for the national convention, meaning she will replace a delegate if he or she is absent in August.

"A lot of people are still prejudiced against the Clintons," Rushton said. "I've admired her [Hillary]. She is a good, strong, forceful person."

Rushton said she will support Obama if he wins the nomination but will continue to support Clinton "all the way."

Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana was the keynote speaker at the party's annual Jefferson/Jackson dinner Friday night.

On Saturday, before the party elected Democratic Governor hopeful Bob Springermeyer for November's gubernatorial race, he nominated Josie Valdez a delegate for Obama in the second congressional district, to be his Lt. Governor.

This marks the first time in history a Latina will be running in the Utah contest. They won 87 percent of the vote for the party's nomination.