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As it always is in Utah, 2012 was a terrible year for the Utah Democrats. This time, all but 5 State Senate and 14 State House seats went to the Republicans, with nearly every other elected office in state or county races falling into GOP hands. Outside of Salt Lake County, no Democrat holds any significant elected office. Yet we haven’t lost everything. Congressman Jim Matheson, our only Democratic Representative in the state, pulled off a squeaker of a win; less than 1%. And we even managed a surprising winning margin of 9% with State Senator Ben McAdams in the Salt Lake County Mayoral race.

But I believe we shouldn’t sit back and accept that this is all we can hope for. I think that we can expand beyond our tiny victories. I think that if we take advantage of the changing demographics in Utah, and really put up a fight with skilled candidates, we can surprise the world of politics.
So let’s take a look at the voting trends and demographics of various areas to see where we can win (and the one or two areas we’re in trouble), starting with legislative districts. All information in this diary is derived from the state elections results and each legislator's official demographics analysis of their district.

Senate District 3: While Senate Districts 1-2 and 4-5 are all safe Democratic (none of the Democratic incumbents got less than 55% of the vote), Senate District 3 (made up of parts of Salt Lake City and the separate city of South Salt Lake) is a bigger concern. SD 3 is currently represented by Minority Leader Gene Davis, a veteran Democrat who has served in the state House and Senate since 1987.

He seems like he should be an easy victor in liberal SLC and South Salt Lake, especially since the House districts contained partially within SD3 were mostly Dem-leaning this last election (though not completely, which I will cover later), yet Senator Davis doesn’t win as handily as he should. He hasn’t cracked 55% in any of his elections (even 2006), and in wave years like 2002 and 2010, he barely won by about 3 percentage points each time. As a veteran legislator who doesn’t do anything to anger his supporters, Davis shouldn’t be this close to defeat. Hopefully 2014 isn’t a wave year, because Davis is weak precisely where Utah Dems are not.

Senate District 8: For now, this is the only other State Senate seat that I could see going to us. It’s a Salt Lake City (and suburb city Midvale) seat, held by freshman Republican Brian Shiozawa (who is the only minority the Republicans in the state senate have, if you don’t count the one female senator on their side). He’s an interesting technocrat type, being a former doctor who won 56-44% against the much hyped Josie Valdez (part of a husband and wife duo who were supposed to serve in the House and Senate respectively).

Shiozawa doesn’t seem like he could be dislodged by any charges of extremism, having a moderate demeanor and not doing anything to attract attention so far. Valdez tried to turn out the Latino and liberal vote, but looking at the demographics of the district (only 13% Latino, and full of real estate and finance sector types), we may need a self-funder, especially one who can appeal to middle-class and rich people. Valdez is not an option this time around, as she was elected Vice-Chair of the Utah Democrats after the national election.

Senate District 12: I don’t really see this seat ever going to us, but it’s current holder, Republican Daniel Thatcher seems to be rather weak for a Utah GOP “some dude” type, winning by only 5 points in 2010. He represents a large chunk of rural Toole County, and the western-most portion of Salt Lake City/County (including Magna and parts of minority-filled West Valley City). His win was 52-47% against Brent Goodfellow. Goodfellow was a 26-year incumbent (22 in House, 4 in state senate), but unfortunately Goodfellow is 72 and won’t try again.

If I had to pick a Democratic challenger, it’d be one of the two Democratic state reps in his district; Susan Duckworth (HD 22) or Janice Fisher (HD 30). If I had to pick either one, I’d go for Duckworth, as she received 73% in 2012, while representing the much more conservative Magna (and would presumably get more of the urban vote). Fisher only received 52% even while being a decades-long force within urban West Valley. Still, either representative, or a new challenger could theoretically get the 18% Latino population to turn out a respectable number of votes.

State House Districts:

HD 9: A Weber County-based district held by two-term Republican Jeremy Peterson. I think this could be a great possibility with the right candidate, despite the fact that Peterson had a 60.55-39.45% win in 2012. First, the demographics of the district are encouraging, with 24% of the population being Latino, with Ogden, the largest city in the district being 30% Latino. There’s also 18,000-strong Weber State University in the district (or in its neighbor HD 10), which could be mobilized in our favor. Unfortunately, Peterson has already beaten a strong candidate twice; he unseated seven-term Democratic incumbent Neil Hansen in 2010, and beat Hansen in 2012 by 60.55-39.46%, as previously mentioned. The district seems to be a poor, manufacturing-based district, with 54% of the population making under $45,000 per year. A candidate who can pull together a coalition of students, poor people, and Latinos would be ideal.

HD 10: This is another Weber County district, and just like HD 9, it’s got a two-term Republican holding it. Dixon Pitcher (yes, that’s his name) served in the same seat for a single term in the 80s, but didn’t hold the seat again until 2010. Like Peterson, Pitcher seems to be beatable; Pitcher got 54.14-45.86% against school administrator Randy Rounds, and 53.91-46.09% against no-name Christopher Winn in 2012. Again, just as in HD 9, the Latino population is massive at 26%, and 9% of the population being “other single race” (whatever that means). HD 10 also has a large population of educators, social assistants, and healthcare professionals, making up 21% of the workforce. A candidate who can bring together educators, students, and Latinos would be ideal.

HD 33: Held by Republican Craig Hall, this should really be an easy victory for us. Hall is a freshman representing a heavily minority (32% Latino, 5% Pacific Islander, 2% Black and Native American, and 5% Asian) district in West Valley City, and votes as a basically standard Utah Republican. He won by 51.96% to Democrat Liz Muniz’s 48.04%. My guess is that he managed to win because of the excitement for Romney’s candidacy among Utah whites, so a rematch with him and Liz Muniz would end in a narrow defeat for Hall. Like most Utah GOP legislators, he seems to be a “some dude” type. I would recommend either Muniz running again, or someone with a similar talent in turning out minority (especially Latino) votes.

HD 34: Held by two-term Republican Johnny Anderson, I think this is a district we have a shot at, similar to Craig Hall’s district. This West Valley district has a large minority population (18% Latino, 3% Black, 1% American Indian, 4% Asian and 2% Pacific Islander), and should be an easy Democratic win. However, compared to Hall, Anderson will be harder to beat, since he’s been serving since 2009, but It think it’s possible, as it seems his district has been sacrificed to ensure a safe Republican seat somewhere else. I don’t know how else to explain his 61% win in 2010 being reduced to a 52-47% win against Celina Milner (yes, another Democratic Latina, though one with an Anglo name) in 2012. A Celina Milner rematch would probably be the best bet to oust Anderson, but really, anyone who can portray themselves as a responsive, minority-inspiring candidate could do well. Additionally, anyone who can hammer Anderson on his vote to gut Utah’s open records laws (a big issue here in Utah), will do well.

HD 38: This Kearns-centered district is represented by ten-term Republican Eric Hutchings, who seems to be fairly entrenched. Even more discouraging is his 57-42% victory over first-time candidate Elias McGraw (who is another Latino with a misleadingly Anglo name). However, the demographics look good; 28% Hispanic, 2% Asian, and 3% Pacific Islander is nothing to sniff at. And HD 38 is represented in the state senate by a veteran Democrat, so that’s also a plus.  I’d say that a better campaigner with more funding and support could make this a closer race, because in terms of raw votes, McGraw’s 3,633 to Hutchings’s 5,079 isn’t insurmountable.

Other than these districts, there doesn’t seem to be any that are immediately competitive; most vote for the Republican by a 20-point margin at best. Still, it’s a start. And I'll just leave you all with an article mentioning the rise of Latino candidates in Utah politics: It mentions most of the Latino candidates I've talked about here.

April 23 2013: Looking through elections again, it seems I've missed a few potentially vulnerable House districts.

HD 39: I’m calling this Taylorsville-based district potentially vulnerable, as five-term incumbent Jim Dunnigan performed somewhat worse in 2012 than he did in 2010. Both times were against no-name opponents; in 2010 he got 60-34%, with a Libertarian taking the rest, and in 2012 he received 60%-39%. A difference of 9% against a second no name opponent (and without a Libertarian to soak up dissatisfied Republican votes) is fairly significant, especially with the vote totals as low as they are in a fairly urbanized area (6,803 to 4,528). Additionally, the Hispanic population is 21% here, and a good 45% of the population makes less than $75,000. So while I don’t think this seat will be ours anytime soon, it has some potential for Democrat growth if they can appeal to those populations, and if Dunnigan retires, it could turn a little more Democratic. We just need a candidate that’s well-known and liked enough to flip a little over a thousand votes. Unfortunately, I have no idea who that could be.

HD 45: This Sandy-based district seems like it should be safe Republican, as it has a low Hispanic population and covers a fairly middle-class suburban area, but for whatever reason two-term incumbent Steve Eliason seems to be unpopular, winning by a roughly 300 voter margin (50.29-45.93%) in 2010 with a Constitution Party candidate taking nearly 4%, and by a 9-point margin in 2012 (54.83-45.17%) with a more densely-populated district and no Constitution Party candidate. Of particular note is Laura Black, Eliason’s 2010 opponent. While she and the 2012 Dem candidate seem to be no names, the 2010 election results article mentions that Black was “elected leader of a 2,000 member teacher advocacy group”.  And 22% of the district is employed in education, healthcare, or social assistance fields. So it looks like a Dem with ties to education could make this a race worth watching.

HD 63: I’m not actually sure if this is a vulnerable seat or not, as it’s got conflicting election results. It’s a Provo-based district (even has Brigham Young University) represented by two-termer Dean Sanpei, who is one of two Japanese-Americans in the Utah legislature (the other is State Senator Brian Shiozawa, who I thought was the other minority Utah Republicans have). Sanpei was first elected in 2010 with 56.56% to long-time Utah County Democrat activist Donald Jarvis’s 43.44%. A thirteen-point margin might seem unbeatable at first, but looking at the actual number of ballots, it’s a lot more hopeful than it seems. The numbers end up being 1,225 to 941 (or 1,426 to 1,052), and this is in a college/suburban district (though admittedly the college is BYU). So if we could get the right Democrat here, we might be able to win in the heart of conservative Utah. Unfortunately, Sanpei didn’t get a challenger in 2012, so I can’t compare his 2010 numbers to his 2012 numbers. Still, getting only 56% of the vote in 2010 in an ultra-conservative district is not good for Sanpei.

Originally posted to Gygaxian on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 12:57 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight and Four Corners Leadership Project.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Very interesting stuff (9+ / 0-)

    I'd love a future diary on some potential Utah Dems to watch for, like candidates who could win statewide.  

    23, male, CA-18 (home and voting there), LA-01 (college).

    by Jeff Singer on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 01:03:59 PM PDT

    •  Sure, but it'd be a short diary (12+ / 0-)

      There's really only two Democratic candidates that could compete statewide at this point; Jim Matheson and Ben McAdams. Matheson was actually polled against Governor Herbert by PPP last year, and he was head-to-head (or even 1% ahead in one case) with Herbert in the polling. Plus Matheson has represented most of the state's population over the years.

      McAdams is the real rising star though; he's a state senator from the most liberal district in Utah who won the County Mayor's seat in the year of Romneygeddon. He's only 38, and looking at how he managed to get most of the County's city mayors (most of whom are GOP or independent) to endorse him and a couple of the GOP legislators to do the same, it looks like he's got a bright future ahead of him, especially since he surpassed Matheson.

      I don't know about rising stars in the legislative races, but the Latino candidates who lost by 2-5% should be able to win if they try again. Celina Milner seems like the best bet for a truly "rising star" candidate if she can beat Johnny Anderson. If any Dem beats Dixon Pitcher (seriously that name is ridiculous), then they'd probably be another good rising star.

      Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

      by Gygaxian on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 01:36:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know if McAdam's outran (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gygaxian, wasatch, jlms qkw

        Matheson in the portion of SLC that was in UT-02. Republicans were fairly clever and ruthless in packing a large portion of SLC into UT-02, but they did it by putting in most all the red areas, and lots of swingish purple areas, leaving out the urban liberal core and putting it over in a district fast trending red with lots of inelastic, crimson red suburban territory. It wasn't as effective as the pie plan proposed by some here, but it followed the concerns and desires of the UT GOP's power players, which included some who weren't comfortable mincing up SLC's congressional clout, and others who simply wanted Matheson to have a district where he would at least try to win reelection.

        Luckily, Matheson's SLC portion should trend slightly more Democratic to offset the fast growth and inelastically Republican nature of Utah county.

        "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

        by ArkDem14 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 03:53:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Matheson's new district runs slightly (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jlms qkw, talismanlangley

          more democratic . . . I wish Matheson would too... Ben McAdams is the real deal.

          •  No. Republicans made his district (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            high uintas, jlms qkw

            substantially more Republican after redistricting, and gave him a lot of new territory.

            "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

            by ArkDem14 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:46:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Which district are you talking about? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ArkDem14, jlms qkw

              UT-02 was changed to be a bit more GOP than the old one and the new UT-04 was a bit less GOP than the old UT-02, but was more suburban-centric.

              "...and as I learned higher joys, so I learned neither to harm, nor to wish harm upon others." -Nietzche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

              by KingofSpades on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 09:05:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I got the districts mixed up. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jlms qkw

                "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

                by ArkDem14 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 08:46:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Looking at the statistics (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jlms qkw

          Matheson got 109,599 or 48.84% of the UT-04 vote in Salt Lake County. McAdams got 54% overall in the entire county, which isn't as liberal as SLC.

          So I think it's fair to say that McAdams outperformed Matheson in Salt Lake County, but wouldn't outperform Matheson in Utah County.

          Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

          by Gygaxian on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 10:30:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I don't get your math (0+ / 0-)

            Matheson won 53% of the vote in Salt Lake County, in a district that excluded the urban liberal core of the county and the bulk of Salt Lake City; what he got was most of the suburban and less Democratic urban territory of the county, and he still won 52.88% of the three party vote there, whereas McAdams got about 1% more in the entire county, which included a large chunk of highly liberal votes in the ubran core. He almost certainly didn't outperform Matheson in the sections of Salt Lake County in UT-04.

            "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

            by ArkDem14 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 11:31:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I kind of see what you did (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jlms qkw

            http://electionresults.utah.gov/...

            Matheson won overall 108,725-105,269, but he won the SLC portion 98,914-83,268.

            "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

            by ArkDem14 on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 11:34:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, my bad. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ArkDem14, jlms qkw

              I was using the overall percentage points, which looked like it was just counting SLC on the Excel sheet. I read it wrong. My bad.

              Though my point still stands, in that McAdams is at least as good a candidate as Matheson is, and for much cheaper than the Matheson-Love race was. I seem to recall the McAdams-Crockett race being less than a million dollars. So he'd save us cash and vote a little more progressive if nothing else.

              Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

              by Gygaxian on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 12:09:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  McAdams certainly did well (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                jlms qkw, KingofSpades

                And it was an impressive win. A couple of successful terms as SLC mayor could give McAdams a good platform to run on statewide. Matheson is still stronger in SLC and much of rural Utah though.

                "Once, many, many years ago I thought I was wrong. Of course it turned out I had been right all along. But I was wrong to have thought I was wrong." -John Foster Dulles. My Political Compass Score: -4.00, -3.69, Proud member of DKE

                by ArkDem14 on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:51:39 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'd like to see McAdams run for Governor in 2020 (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jlms qkw

                  To be honest. If he can improve on his popularity in a second mayoral term in 2016, I think he'll be nicely positioned for a gubernatorial run.

                  Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

                  by Gygaxian on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 12:38:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  what is the average number of votes cast (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea, Hubbard Squash, wasatch

    in a state house race?  It looks pretty small, the kind of small where good retail politics can overcome the partisanship of a district that leans the other way.

    ...better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference. -FDR, 1936

    by James Allen on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 01:20:34 PM PDT

    •  I'm not quite sure (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ban nock, wasatch, jlms qkw

      13,404 for house races, if I got my math right, which I don't know if I did. 31,779 for last year's state senate races, again if I did it right. I basically just selected the totals on the election results Excel document and let it average it out and put the average number in a new cell. Not sure if I did it right, since I had trouble in the other Excel methods I know.

      I think the urban districts may actually be more open to retail politics than the rural ones. The rural voters have already made up their minds, while urban voters don't think about it until late in the election.

      Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

      by Gygaxian on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 02:15:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In an around Salt Lake County, that's very (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gygaxian, jlms qkw

      true. Heavy turnout could turn a lot of outcomes.

      Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

      by Words In Action on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:14:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To be honest (0+ / 0-)

    I'd like Senator Gene Davis to step aside if we can find a stronger candidate. We don't need a vulnerable Minority leader, and we don't need the possibility of losing what few state senators we have.

    Plus, some new blood might help the Democrats push for legislation.

    Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

    by Gygaxian on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 03:41:57 PM PDT

  •  HD 38 (5+ / 0-)

    I used to live in Hutchings' district.  As soon as immigration reform passes, this district and many others will go Democratic.

    Many Latinos can't vote yet.

  •  from ut-02 (6+ / 0-)

    on the kind of liberal east bench . . .

    i have some hope.  thanks.

    Ted Kennedy: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die…”

    by jlms qkw on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:36:40 PM PDT

  •  I've lived in quite a few towns in Utah back in (5+ / 0-)

    the early to mid 80s. They are nice people, and I'm talking about your basic rural mormon. I bet they'd agree with most Kosaks on about 90% of their basic human values, we just need to find that common ground and get them to vote Dem.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 05:59:48 PM PDT

  •  HD 25 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gygaxian, wasatch, jlms qkw

    Highest margin for a Dem candidate, Rep. Joel Briscoe, last election at 83% I live deep in the SLC liberal bubble ;^)

  •  Did Josie Valdez' husband get elected? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gygaxian, Words In Action, jlms qkw

    "...and as I learned higher joys, so I learned neither to harm, nor to wish harm upon others." -Nietzche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

    by KingofSpades on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:28:52 PM PDT

  •  I've spoken with Thatcher (District 12) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UTvoter, jlms qkw

    Dumb as a box of rocks. Just spews RW talking points, no thought behind them. Sad.

    "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

    by high uintas on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 08:54:48 PM PDT

    •  Any plausible challengers to Thatcher? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, jlms qkw

      Because apart from those two Dem Representatives, I can't think of anyone in that general area that could stand a decent chance of ousting Thatcher. If he's as dumb as you say, we should be able to catch him in saying or doing something stupid, and an energetic candidate would help in publicizing that.

      Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

      by Gygaxian on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 10:09:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One thing we shouldn't forget here is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw, jncca

    that if we talk about a district being 32% Latino, the electorate is liable to be 15% Latino at best.

    •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlms qkw

      Though I think that most Utah Republican candidates have a 20% amount of the electorate that won't ever vote for them, so a 15% Latino electorate added to that isn't anything to be ashamed of.

      And if immigration reform goes through, that number will skyrocket.

      Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

      by Gygaxian on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 11:21:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a resident who's active in political campaigns (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UTvoter, Gygaxian, jlms qkw

    I've done some research in this area, as well. Prior to 2008, I went in an scraped all the data on campaign contributions going back to 2000 and put them in Excel.

    After pretty extensive analysis, a few things became clear, to me at least.

    1) With the exception of the Governor's seat and Orrin Hatch's seat, campaigns pretty much all Utah positions were not very expensive relative to the rest of the country. The amounts necessary to dominate in terms of funding were not that high.

    2) Democrats who were competitive in fund-raising in districts involving Salt Lake, Tooele, Summit, Carbon, and Weber counties, in particular, did fairly well as a group.

    3) Democrats who were competitive in Salt Lake County were especially successful.

    4) With the right funding and GOTV efforts -- potentially including funding from outside the state through Act Blue, national progressive angel contributors, etc. -- Democrats could become a dominant force (super majority) in Salt Lake County, which could then be leveraged as a base for developing similar methods in other select districts in the above-mentioned counties (#2).

    5) A significant number of seats when uncontested.

    6) Democrats need to be sold over and over of the importance of supporting candidates so that:

    a) Voice is given to our issues and positions during campaign cycles, as they are really heard otherwise, b) Candidates can compete,
    c) Prospective candidates continue to step forward because they can expect to be supported.

    Of course it is tough because the odds are so long in so many places. And we have to raise more and campaign and organize harder to overcome the numbers. And there are districts that clearly are tinkering with their machines, because they have more votes than residents. And we have issues with last minute voter purges. And Republicans hammered us with gerrymandering in 2000 and 2010. But we could do better with better funding and more organization. And on the funding side, we are not talking about huge sums. However, as wealth continues to concentrate, particularly in the hands of wealthy Republicans, the task gets harder.

    Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

    by Words In Action on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:12:30 AM PDT

    •  Good post, thanks for that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, jlms qkw

      I'll respond to your helpfully numbered points.

      1) Agreed; the only 3 elected positions that are expensive at all is Governor, Senator, and whichever House seat Matheson is hanging out in.

      2) Good point, I hadn't thought about that. Even with the meager prospects for Democratic fundraising in Utah, we did fairly well in the Wasatch Front counties.

      3) True, especially when you consider that Romney and Bush were at the top of the ticket for 3 out of the last 4 elections. Salt Lake County Dems did fairly well.

      4) Unfortunately, most national progressive funders seem to write all of Utah (besides Matheson) off as a lost cause, especially the legislative races. Besides maybe a few rich folks in Park City, I can't think of any wealthy funders who would bother to donate to Democrats in Utah. Robert Redford, maybe? I do agree that once we can build some political infrastructure and a strong funder base, we can invest that into a larger Democratic political "base".

      5) This is true, though many of those seats are effectively unwinnable. I do think that the Democrats should at least have someone file for each race, just in case the unthinkable happens and the Republican has a titanically awful scandal.

      6a) Agreed; we don't tend to hear our side's positions explained much, even in the supposedly "liberal" Salt Lake Tribune. We need some way to express Utah Democratic viewpoints to the rest of Utah, because when Utahns know our views, they tend to support us more (Matheson and McAdams), than a distant "Democrat" stereotype.

      6b) Yeah, I do think we should compete among Democrats, even here in Utah. Senator Gene Davis, for example, should show that he can be an effective Democratic leader, or gracefully stand aside. Though if you were talking about competing the general election, I agree with that as well.

      6c) That's actually one of my main complaints with the Utah Democrats; they don't seem to encourage prospective candidates to step forward, especially non-Hispanic minority candidates. We need some sort of sports-style "scouting" of prospective candidates: that would help us find the best possible contenders.

      7) Yeah, I was looking through a few of the demographic statistics, and a few of the numbers looked incredibly fishy. Perhaps Utah Dems should hire an investigator to check for wrongdoing?

      Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

      by Gygaxian on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 11:17:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I know my Senator, Karen Morgan, has said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    UTvoter, jlms qkw

    that she does not intend to run next year. I was heavily involved in her staff in 2008 when she parlayed her long-term seat in the House for the Senate. It will be interesting to see what happens to the seat next year. Perhaps Scott Howell will run?

    Mindfulness is the first necessity of sanity and survival and the first casualty of Consumer Culture.

    by Words In Action on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 07:18:05 AM PDT

  •  Romney (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gygaxian, jlms qkw, KJB Oregon

    With the sting of Mitt Romney’s loss still fresh in the collective mind of the LDS brethren, I find it rather convenient that the LDS Church now states the Obama approach to immigration is in line with the views of the church. WOW. The LDS church worldwide has close to 50% Hispanic membership.
     The white and delightsome LDS moment has passed.
    The only way the LDS Church can wash the foul taste of losing out of their mouth is to embrace Mormon Democratic candidates like McAdams, Matheson and Luz Robles.  The only way the LDS Church can keep their 47% Hispanic membership happy, grow their base and widen the tent is by inclusion, who knows maybe one day they will accept the like of Jim Debakis too….

  •  Once upon a time (0+ / 0-)

    (as late as the 70's) Utah Democrats were competitive at the state level.  In 1976 both the Gov (Rampton) and one Senator(Moss) were Dems. Then along came Reagan and the State of Utah has been bright red with a few blue dots ever since.

    Perhaps the powers that be in Utah have realized that the election of a full on Tea Party Senator in 2010 instead of Bennett means it is time for them to exercise their considerable influx in pulling Utah's politics back toward the center that it occupied in the mid-20th century.

    You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by Sam I Am on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 08:54:24 AM PDT

  •  Once upon a time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw

    (as late as the 70's) Utah Democrats were competitive at the state level.  In 1976 both the Gov (Rampton) and one Senator(Moss) were Dems. Then along came Reagan and the State of Utah has been bright red with a few blue dots ever since.

    Perhaps the powers that be in Utah have realized that the election of a full on Tea Party Senator in 2010 instead of Bennett means it is time for them to exercise their considerable influx in pulling Utah's politics back toward the center that it occupied in the mid-20th century.

    You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

    by Sam I Am on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 08:54:35 AM PDT

    •  According to Scott Howell (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KingofSpades

      The LDS Church was starting to exercise their influence way back in the late 90s. Supposedly, Howell was popular with the state Republicans, and was contemplating turning Republican in return for controlling the state budget committee (yet another reason he was a bad candidate), but he had a conversation with LDS president/prophet Gordon B Hinckley, in which Hinckley told him to stay with the Democrats, because the LDS Church needed good people in both parties.

      They stayed quiet until 2011, when they endorsed the moderate immigration document called the Utah Compact. Then in 2012 they went so far as to cancel church meetings on Republican and Democratic caucus nights, and explained publicly that they did it so that more people would be involved.

      They also said ""Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of the various political parties. We encourage members to attend their precinct caucus meetings."

      So it's pretty clear that they're getting freaked out by the far-right in Utah just as much as moderates and liberals in Utah are.

      Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

      by Gygaxian on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:39:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry, little time to digest your post. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jlms qkw

    But can you or a commentor (I still maintain "commentator" ain't a word) speak to the Moab area referred to in the title?  My fambly and I've been there briefly in conjunction w/ visits to Canyonlands and (esp.) Arches National Parks--both highly recommended!  

    The town itself struck me w/ enough enviro-cred and openness to outsiders that I thought it might have a chance at being purple, if not blue.

    Any thoughts?

    "Push the button, Max!" Jack Lemmon as Professor Fate, The Great Race

    by bartcopfan on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 09:24:31 AM PDT

    •  Unfortunately Moab is packed into a rural district (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bartcopfan, jlms qkw

      So there's little chance at this point at winning a house or state senate district there. The state house Republican won by a 7,900 vote margin, while the state senate race had approximately 15,400 vote win for the Republican. So at this point, I just don't see it as winnable.

      Dominating the city council or winning a race for Mayor of Moab wouldn't be impossible though, especially if there was a focus on enviro-cred, as you mentioned.

      Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

      by Gygaxian on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 09:50:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The West Jordan Smiths magazine section (7000 S) (0+ / 0-)

    The firearms magazine section now takes up half the row.  I think they took out one of my favorite mountain biking magazines to put in more gun magazines.

    "Democrats are going to confiscate your guns" might work here.

    Now that I live further east, fewer of my neighbors work for Rio Tinto/Kennecott than when I lived out by Usana Ampitheater.  "Democrats want to close the coal mine/copper mine/oil refinery you work in" would also be successful here.

  •  Ogden? (0+ / 0-)

    Where does Ogden fit in terms of the political landscape there? Parts of the town seemed fairly liberal to me with a good group of transplants living in the east bench area.
    Couple that with a growing Latino population and it should be purple at least right?

    •  At the moment, it's generically conservative (0+ / 0-)

      But it seems like it's starting to become a swing city in Weber County.

      Immigration reform will help immensely there though, with the 30% Latino population (may of whom are most certainly undocumented) in Ogden proper.

      And the liberal transplants will help, yeah. Hopefully it can eventually become the Salt Lake City of Northern Utah. At least it's not a suburb city like my own city of West Jordan (specifically HD 47 and Senate District 6). Those are designed to be conservative bedroom communities.

      Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

      by Gygaxian on Fri Mar 22, 2013 at 10:14:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  By the way, two Dem political-types I forgot (0+ / 0-)

    until now: Sim Gill and Ross Romero. Romero is a former state senator (district 6) who had his district gerrymandered into a Republican one, and he ran for Salt Lake County Mayor instead of running against a fellow Democrat. He lost to Ben McAdams, but he's young, so I think he has a future in Utah politics. He's slightly to the right of McAdams, and is part of the pro-business wing of the Utah Dems, but otherwise, he's great, especially on Latino issues. I think he could do well in one of the West Valley HDs. He's kind of a nerd though; a bit less charismatic than McAdams.

    Sim Gill is the only Indian elected offical in the state of Utah; he's the Salt Lake County District Attorney, and seems to be a hard-working type. Most of the big, media-covered cases that he gets seem to end positively, and he has a good reputation. So that could translate to a successful state legislature race.

    Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

    by Gygaxian on Sat Mar 23, 2013 at 12:14:27 AM PDT

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