Utah is one of 11 states to hold a gubernatorial election this fall. Incumbent Gov. Olene Walker, a Republican, is not eligible to run, having placed fourth at the state's GOP convention in May 2004.
Wealthy businessman Jon Huntsman Jr., a Bush administration diplomat who also worked as a White House aide under Ronald Reagan, will take on Democrat Scott Matheson Jr., dean of the University of Utah law school and the son of a former governor.
Huntsman is the oldest child of entrepreneur Jon Huntsman, who amassed a fortune of more than $2 billion with a conglomerate of chemical companies that gained fame in the 1970s for inventing the clamshell container for the Big Mac.
Walker succeeded three-term incumbent Mike Leavitt as Utah governor in November 2003. Leavitt, a Republican, was tapped by President Bush to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Walker, the former lieutenant governor, became the first ever female governor in Utah. Her loss at the GOP convention marked the first time a standing governor had failed to win a party nomination in 48 years.
Up for election in 2004 is Republican Robert Bennett's Senate seat, which he has held since 1992. He has not said whether he will seek re-election.
A key House race to watch in 2004 is the state's 2nd Congressional District. Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson won by 1,600 votes in 2002 in a district that gave Bush 67 percent of the vote in 2000, his best showing outside Texas. Republican John Swallow is trying for a rematch, but must survive a primary first.
Before the 2002 House races, the state Legislature redrew the 2nd District to bring in more rural GOP voters, but the Democrat, Matheson was strong enough in Salt Lake County to defeat Swallow.
Prior to the 2002 elections, Rep. Duane Bourdeaux, D-Salt Lake City, had been the state's only black state legislator. Utah now has two: James Evans, a Salt Lake City Republican, won a Senate seat in the last election cycle.