Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Change IS coming to Utah

Despite abysmal turnout, there were two four upsets last night in the GOP primaries. And not just sweakers but blow-outs for the challenger to the status quo.
"We rocked the vote here in Utah and we rocked the Republican Party," Chaffetz told about 175 supporters gathered to celebrate the victory. "I think we've been given a mandate to return the Republican Party to its core conservative principles."
With 99 percent of the votes counted, Chaffetz led Cannon by about 20 points.
Chaffetz hammered away at Cannon, running a relentless campaign targeting Congress' failure to control government spending, fix immigration and energy policies, and vowing to eliminate the federal government's role in public education.
"The Republican Party is broken and I want to fix it," said Chaffetz, as his supporters celebrated, drinking apple beer at a gathering in Springville.
Wow, I had predicted for about a year now that Rep. Cannon would face a much stiffer challenge this year than last time (as Republicans smelled blood in the water) and that the ex-BYU kicker would have the best shot at doing so. This is now Jon Huntsman's party (Chaffetz was the Governor's chief of staff), not the brothers Cannon's.

But the best result was really the drubbing that Rep. Mark Walker took by Deputy Treasurer Richard Ellis. When I heard this piece of news this morning driving into work, I laughed out loud. What a profile in courage.
Lt. Governor Gary Herbert waited until the polls closed Tuesday to announce that he would forward state treasurer candidate Richard Ellis' complaint to the Attorney General's office for investigation.
But wait that's not all. As I predicted, more incumbents fell in the GOP primaries.
With half of Weber County's House District 7 vote in, it appears that newcomer Ryan Wilcox will show four-term incumbent Glenn Donnelson the exit.
Donnelson refused to debate Wilcox and Weber County GOP Chair Matt Bell decided to host an event anyway - even after state Republican Party leaders cautioned him against the practice of having incumbents debate their intra-party challengers.
Donnelson, during his years in the Legislature, has focused heavily on illegal immigration. However, Wilcox called Donnelson out of touch with the district's voters. Wilcox surveyed voters and found that energy prices and taxes were at the top of their list, not immigration.
And one more for the road:
Challenger Becky Edwards has toppled Rep. Paul Neuenschwander in southern Davis County's District 20 GOP primary.
Edwards said Neuenschwander's support of school vouchers showed he did not represent the interest of voters in his district. She also questioned him voting for an omnibus education bill.
Neuenschwander questioned whether Edwards was a true Republican and hammered her for voting in the Democratic presidential primary in March.
Edwards is the daughter-in-law of former Brigham Young football coach LaVell Edwards.
So there you have it, high turnout in the Presidential primary in February (thanks Mitt!) but low turnout in June in the GOP primary. Yet four encumbents/establishment favorites went down (one open seat establishment favorite won) the voters of Utah want change in the status quo, whether or not LG Herbert or his buddy AG Shurtleff wants it.

P.S. Hopefully Shurtleff gets better and they get rid of that nasty infection.

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