If Jim Matheson were ever to lose an election, I thought back in 2002 and 2004, Utah Democrats would be screwed. He was our last best hope. But now, I think we got another waiting in the wings, thanks in part to Howard Dean.
Dean's cousin, Peter Carroon, worked his butt off and got lucky in his 2004 race for Salt Lake County Mayor. But now, Carroon is one of the most popular politicans in the most populous county in Utah. He keeps making smart moves that make him appealing to those beyond his Avenues/9th and 9th base.
Even though a soccer stadium is going forward, Carroon showed that he isn't a push over, and doesn't like to waste taxpayer dollars. He got a big boost in popularity while taking on the Speaker of the House, Sandy's mayor, and other GOP big wigs. Instead of showing up to the cerimonial first shovel, Carrroon kept it real by being at his son's soccer game/practice.
Now he gets to use Rocky as a foil on the left. Salt Lake City's outgoing (thank goodness) mayor grandstanded...I mean protested against the war in Iraq by protesting the American Legion conference. American Legionniares are all old vets, I doubt any more than a handful of those there were in the Iraq war. And it probabbly offended a great many of them. So this year, Carroon will be the official greeter instead.
I think Peter has a decent chance to run for Governor or Senate one day. If I were him, I wouldn't go for the House. First though, get reelected by a big margin in 2008. Still, Utah Democrats now have a real bench. And if a decent Democrat gets elected mayor of Salt Lake City, then we might have another seat open up on the bench...behind the squeeky clean County Mayor.