Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Thoughts on local politics

For reasons I've expressed elsewhere, I've long felt that there needs to be more political diversity--at least more willingness to vote for a qualified Democrat--in Utah.

Though we've made progress, a lot more needs to be done, especially in Utah Valley. The Utah County Democratic Party has worked very hard over the past few years to develop a moderate platform and to encourage the best people they could find to run. I've been told (and I'll phrase it carefully since I have it second hand and I don't believe it's supposed to be public knowledge) that Church leaders at the general level, meeting with potential candidates, not only encouraged them to run as Democrats but encouraged them to be open about their Church service and to emphasize the Church's political neutrality.

This year, the Utah County party fielded an exceptional group of candidates, including former mission presidents and other highly qualified people with unquestionable Church credentials. Several of them were clearly superior to their opponents. I'm afraid none of them won.

I worked very hard for one of the candidates--Claralyn Hill--who I would say is clearly 3 or 4, maybe 5 or 6, times as qualified as her Republican opponent. She was endorsed by Stephen R. Covey, Truman Madsen, Susan Easton Black, and other well known residents. But it appears she's lost.

I'm not sure what combination of bias and lack of awareness is at work. But it's frustrating to feel like nothing could get a Democrat elected--that even Joseph Smith would lose in Utah County if he ran as a Democrat. (Read his presidential platform, and I think you'll find he might just lean in that direction.)

I don't know what more could be done--apart from either having the Church assign people to be Democrats or having somebody with enormous wealth provide the resources for an educational effort to change people's attitudes.

Anyway, that's my one feeling of frustration on a morning that I am otherwise very, very happy about.

Here are the results from some of the races I've been interested in:

State Senate District 16
Bramble, Curt (REP)
60.95% Votes: 10,207
Hatfield, Radene (DEM)
39.05% Votes: 6,539

State House of Rep. District 59
Fowlke, Lorie D. (REP)
63.75% Votes: 5,162
Thompson, Paul (DEM)
36.25% Votes: 2,935

State House of Rep. District 60
Daw, Bradley M. (REP)
66.42% Votes: 6,215
Mcaffee, Boyd (DEM)
27.49% Votes: 2,572
Swain, Scott P. (CON)
6.09% Votes: 570

State House of Rep. District 61
Grover, Keith (REP)
64.25% Votes: 6,421
Turley, Deon S. (DEM)
35.75% Votes: 3,573

State House of Rep. District 62
Herrod, Christopher (REP)
58.3% Votes: 4,594
Hill, Claralyn (DEM)
41.7% Votes: 3,286

State House of Rep. District 63
Clark, Steve (REP)
63.31% Votes: 2,788
Jarvis, Donald K. (DEM)
36.69% Votes: 1,616

State House of Rep. District 64
Lockhart, Becky (REP)
65.71% Votes: 5,180
Petersen, Boyd Jay (DEM)
30.41% Votes: 2,397
Ashby, Nathanial (LIB)
3.88% Votes: 306

I know several of the candidates personally. In my judgment several of the losing Democrats--for instance, Radene Hatfield, Claralyn Hill, and maybe a couple of others--are clearly better than their opponents. Later I'll add further thoughts on some of them and on my involvement.

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