Utah is a unique place, not only for its natural wonders – more national parks here than any other state – but for its social culture, as well.
And that culture creates talented folks who reflect and make money from it.
In turn, every now and then political candidates arise that are uniquely Utah – like in 1992 and 2012.
Can you think back to the candidates of 1992 and pick out one that is much like a 2012 office-seeker?
How about Richard Eyre in 1992 and Chris Stewart this year.
One has only to look at a picture of Richard and Linda Eyre – Utah’s well-known couple who write books about family, spiritual and business life – and Chris and Evie Stewart to see the physical similarities.
But the life experiences and campaign tactics are much the same, too.
Richard Eyre, back in 1992, was running for governor. His first race.
Stewart this year is running for the newly-drawn 2nd Congressional District. Also his first race.
Eyre wrote a book for his 1992 race – Utah In The Year 2000 -- about what Utah and the nation needed in the coming “critical” times.
If you recall, the Eyre book was actually cut in the shape of Utah.
Eyre, sometimes alone, sometimes with his wife, has written a number of books and lectured about family life and success. At the time of his race, he even had a TV show on a local channel. (Richard and Linda now write a column for the Deseret News, among their other projects.)
Stewart also has written a number of best-selling books, some alone, some with his wife, Evie.
You can read about Stewart and his campaign at his web site here.
The Eyres have their own web site here. Mitt and Ann Romney even have an endorsement on the Eyre web site.
While Stewart is talking politics these days, several of his books deal with U.S. history, the Founding Fathers, the Constitution and how good people have to stand up now and save the country.
Stewart speaks of “miracles” and how they’ve happened before in America and will happen again.
As reported in the Deseret News, in his 1992 gubernatorial campaign announcement, Eyre stressed two themes: Innovative alternatives to the tax-and-spend model of government and emphasis on families and values as the foundation of society.
Stewart is talking about the same themes today. He has “Seven Critical Measures” that the United States must address. They are: Enact a balanced budget, entitlement reform, tax reform, reign in spending, ensure national defense, de-federalize public lands and fix immigration.
Eyre had good support among the 1992 GOP state delegates. He came out of the convention in first place, followed by a newcomer named Mike Leavitt.
But Eyre’s campaign faltered over that long summer and Leavitt ended up beating him in the September GOP primary.
Leavitt went on to win two more elections, becoming only the second Utah governor to win three terms.
Eyre has not run for office again, but stays in the Utah social and cultural stream.
Stewart has an uphill fight over the next several weeks in his 2nd District delegate race.
He’s in the contest with 10 other Republicans, including former Utah House Speaker Dave Clark.
The candidates in the 2nd District in the April 21 state Republican Convention are: Edward Mayerhofer, Clark, Milton Ray Hanks, Bob Fuehr, Cherilyn Eagar, Chuck Williams, Stewart, Jason Buck, Jeramey McElhaney, John Willoughby and Howard Wallack.
It’s unclear if one of those could get 600 of the 1,000 delegates, and so become the nominee outright. If that doesn’t happen, the top two vote-getters will advance to the June 26 closed GOP primary.
The general feeling among GOP insiders UtahPolicy has spoken to believe the top three contenders are Clark, Stewart and Eagar, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 but was eliminated in the state convention.
At least the final Republican nominee won’t have to face five-time U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah. Matheson decided not to run in his traditional 2nd District this year, but will jump to the new 4th District. He lives just outside of the 4th District, however, on the east side of Salt Lake City.
The redrawn 2nd District includes Salt Lake City, southern Davis County (Stewart lives in Farmington) and then winds down the western part of the state to include Iron and Washington counties.
Clark lives in Santa Clara, next to St. George. It will be interesting to see if a southern Utahn can win a district based in northern Salt Lake and southern Davis counties.
A number of the other candidates for the 2nd District don’t actually live in the new district, but argue they can represent the area just as well.