Utah GOP Chairman Thomas Wright says they plan to make an all-out push to win in House District 36 - currently held by Patrice Arent, House District 37 against Carol Spackman Moss and House District 44 - the seat now occupied by Tim Cosgrove. Additionally, they want to reclaim the open seat in Senate District 8 being vacated by Karen Morgan.
2012 already promises to be a big Republican year in Utah simply because Mitt Romney is at the top of the ticket. But, Wright says they won’t let that built-in advantage go to waste.
“We are in the middle of the largest grassroots voter registration drive we’ve ever done,” says Wright. “We want to get at least 40,000 new people to vote by mail in Salt Lake County alone.” Additionally, they plan to help those candidates with financial resources and GOTV efforts.
Taking out any one of those three House members they’ve targeted, Arent, Moss or Cosgrove, would be a big blow to the already depleted numbers for Democrats on the Hill. With the retirement of Minority Leader David Litvack, they start with just 16 seats in the House. Losing these three would drop those numbers to 13, and that may not be the end of the bleeding. Wright thinks they have a shot at the open West side seat that was created when Litvack’s district was combined with Brian Doughty’s. Doughty was ousted in convention by Angela Romero.
“Open seats are always in play,” he says. “That’s a race where we aren’t the favorite, but we could win as an underdog. Obama’s lack of popularity in Utah coupled with the high popularity of Mitt Romney, there’s a big Republican tailwind.”
Senate District 8, centered in Cottonwood Heights, is a Republican-leaning district that Wright would like to have back in the GOP fold. “Brian Shiozawa is a good candidate who would bring some diversity to the Senate.”
Shiozawa is running against Josie Valdez who was the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor in 2008.
With Mitt Romney at the top of the ticket and the effects of redistricting on the ballot, Wright knows this is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for the GOP to dramatically increase their advantage on the Hill.
“One thing is for sure - the Democrats are in trouble this year and will have a hard time energizing their voters. We have to outwork our competition and outwork the other candidates to advance our majority.”
House Bill 477 may be dead and gone, but it looks like the Legislature has hit on a great way to limit public access to records - fees.
You know about the Democrats efforts to get their hands on redistricting records, but the Legislature says they can’t have them unless they come up with $10,000 to pay for staff work.
But it’s not just the big requests that are being stifled with fees. A reporter colleague tells me they made a request for records related to Legislative travel to some conferences. In order to get the one-page report, they were asked to pay a $50 fee to cover staff research time. Doesn’t sound like much, but on a reporter’s salary it’s a roadblock.
$50 here and $50 there can really start to add up and keep records out of the public eye. Those fees have the same effect as keeping the records locked up - it just doesn’t look as unseemly.
Next month Gov. Gary Herbert holds his annual fundraising gala with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the keynote speaker.
I’m told that Peter Cooke’s campaign is also planning a fundraising event that night. A chili cookoff with all of the proceeds going to charity.
Cooke plans to challenge Herbert to give the money from his fundraiser to charity as well. Given that Herbert pulled in about $1 million at last year’s gala, that’s a big chunk of change.
My guess is Herbert won’t take Cooke up on it.
Jordan Soccer Report:
Last Tuesday night the varsity defeated #4 Lone Peak 1-0. It was the first goal Lone Peak had given up all season. Things didn’t go so well for the JV as they fell to Lone Peak 2-0, giving up a goal in the first minute.
On Thursday the varsity battled Murray to a 1-1 tie while the JV thumped the Spartans 4-0.
This week they take on Alta and Brighton, two of the top teams in the state, in region play.
Inside Little League Football:
The Jordan Maroon Mity Mites thumped a team from Herriman 40-0 on Saturday. It was such a complete dismantling, Herriman did not get a first down until the second-to-last play of the game.
Here’s lineman/linebacker Eli Schott showing off his game face.
Parting Thought: “When politicians start talking about large groups of their fellow Americans as ‘enemies,’ it’s time for a quiet stir of alertness. Polarizing people is a good way to win an election, and also a good way to wreck a country.” ~ Molly Ivins