Saturday, April 26, 2008

Salt Lake County Democrats don’t have horns, but can they party!

I just returned from my first Democrat convention as an elected delegate. I will say they were very organized during registration with their paperwork looking very much like the poll rosters. I wonder if the clerk’s office helped out.

The one thing I can say is these folks know how to have fun. The energy was very high and it seemed like everybody and their brother is running for national delegate to go vote for Obama.

What struck me as amazing was how many people looked at my credentials, recognized my name, and then looked me right in the eyes and asked what the heck a Republican was doing there.

I had long conversations with Sim Gill, Peter Corroon, Jenny Wilson, Pat Jones and on and on and on. What impressed me most was the openness and genuine feeling of service these elected officials had.

So here is my professional analysis of the Democrat candidates and the likelihood of victory in November.

County Council 2 candidate Paul Pugmire delivered one of best convention speeches (but very long, too long in fact) I have ever heard. This guy is polished, good looking, and has the political chops from previous experience in Arizona politics. If he can get the money he needs, he will give Michael Jensen a real problem. If these two debate, Pugmire will clean his clock. I project a very close race here, but Jensen will be re-elected. Look for Pugmire in the future of Democrat politics.

County Council 4 candidate Jani Iwamoto is a political novice and it showed. She has the education and the community involvement background, but she will be up against one of the best debaters on the County Council. This is the race that will determine who will control county government. I was surprised at the hatred against Mark Crockett by Joe Hatch and the other Democrat council members. Funny it seems both sides have issues with Mark. The Republicans call him a RINO, yet the Democrats call him a Southerland Institute hack. This poses a real problem for Mark because if he cannot raise money, he can’t win. And clearly Hatch, Bradley and especially Horiuchi want him gone. I project this race to be the tightest. I think the Democrats will win this seat and take the council majority.

County Council 6 candidate Roger Harding seems like a nice guy, but the Sandy Republican Party machine will not allow this seat to a democrat. Look for lots and lots of money to materialize for the Republican, and simply overwhelm Harding.

At-Large Randy Horiuchi will win again with the help of the Sandy Republicans and developers.

Peter Corroon is the most popular elected official in Utah, easy win. Maybe the Democrats might want to convince him to run for US Senate in 2010 to see if his popularity goes beyond Salt Lake County.

Joe Hatch and Jenny Wilson were all excited about a 7-2 majority on the council. Won’t happen but it looks like they will get a majority.

A final note was how well I was treated. Official after official, and Democrat bigwigs like Scott Matheson introduced me around to several mover and shakers in the party. I know Scott from the U law school when Carrie (my wife) was the President of the Women’s Law caucus.

What a day…….

The Captain


Brian Watkins said...

I'm reluctant to pick winners in those county council races until we see how the candidates perform in the field. Those races are usually badly underfunded so motivating volunteers and raising money will be powerful factors, often more important than objective qualifications and personal charisma.

Councilwoman Jenny Wilson proposed public financing to help promote awareness of county races in her first year on the council but it wasn't adopted. There was a lot of worry that the legislature, where competitive races are rarely underfunded, would step in and punish the county for doing it. That worry about punitive (and foolish) legislative leadership has been justified time and again since.

Also, Mark, we say "Democratic Party" and not "Democrat Party." Not because it's grammatically correct, but because party insiders and leadership should be incessantly reminded how a political party ought to be governed.

Mark Towner said...


I've been corrected both ways. I guess I will get an official position from Rob Miller. I wrote my article before the results of the Utah County Republican Party was known to me, and frankly I was not surprised at all. As I said to Senator Pat Jones, a State Senator only must keep around 100 friends happy every four year, and for a Representative around 50 every two years. If incumbents from either party make it out of convention, its over for the nomination. Just watch the Eddie Murphy film distinguished gentleman to see how politics really works.....

Captain Mark