Monday Musing: 21 Young Politicos Waiting (Impatiently) in the Wings

lavarr policy insightsUtah always seems to have a strong bench of smart, accomplished young professionals ready to step up and run for political office when the opportunity arises.

Trouble is, there aren’t enough political offices to go around, so most never have a chance to run or serve.

Becoming a governor or member of Congress obviously requires the right credentials and experience. But getting there is also the result of being in the right place at the right time or stepping up and going for it even if the timing doesn’t seem all that great. Often, just plain luck is involved.

One thing is certain: if you don’t run, you won’t ever serve. And if you want to run, you can’t wait until the decks are cleared and the sun, moon and stars are aligned in your favor. The perfect situation may never occur. You have to make things happen.

Had Orrin Hatch, Mike Lee, and Jason Chaffetz waited for the perfect opportunity, they probably wouldn’t be in office today. Chaffetz and Lee took on incumbents. Hatch defied the establishment way back then and ran an upstart campaign. This year, Jonathan Johnson is trying to beat the odds and win against a popular incumbent.

Of course, going for broke no matter the odds usually ends in a loss. So there’s a risk involved. And depending on how you run an insurgent campaign, how many bridges you burn, you may damage yourself for running in the future.

Obviously, Congressmen Chaffetz, Chris Stewart, and Mia Love could be well-positioned to run for the U.S. Senate or governor someday. They’re well-known and have a track record.

But there are plenty of other strong prospects. I’ve compiled a list of young and not-so-young people that I really like, or that I think might angle for a major office if an opportunity arises. There are many more, but these are some obvious ones.

Here are the electrifying eighteen Republicans I’m watching (in alphabetical order):

  • Spencer Cox, current lieutenant governor and former state legislator;
  • John Curtis, Mayor of Provo and all-around capable, likeable guy;
  • Sophia DiCaro, current state representative, finance guru and policy analyst;
  • Spencer P. Eccles, managing director of Cynosure Group and former director of Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED); 
  • Jeff Edwards, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah;
  • Natalie Gochnour, star economist, great background in public policy and communications;
  • Justin Harding, former top congressional staffer and current governor chief of staff;
  • Deidre Henderson, current state senator;
  • Matt Holland, Utah Valley University President;
  • Greg Hughes, current House speaker;
  • Kirk Jowers, former Hinckley Institute director, now with DoTerra;
  • Dan Liljenquist, former state senator, U.S. Senate candidate, and businessman;
  • Boyd Matheson, former chief of staff to Sen. Mike Lee; now running the Sutherland Institute;
  • Derek Miller, current president of World Trade Center Utah, former governor chief of staff and director of GOED;
  • Ann Milner, current state senator, former Weber State University president;
  • Jason Perry, current director of the Hinckley Institute, former governor chief of staff and director of GOED; 
  • Randy Shumway, current CEO of Cicero Group, a research organization, leader in education reform, and economic advisor to Zions Bank;
  • Thomas Wright, real estate executive, and former state Republican chair;

And, a few hot Democrats:

  • Maura Carabello, my former partner at Exoro Group and a public policy and communications guru.
  • Andrew Gruber directs the Wasatch Front Regional Council. Most people don’t know Andrew, but he is as smart and savvy as they get, great communicator and a public policy star.
  • Ben McAdams, of course, the state’s top Democrat as Salt Lake County mayor, and the Democrat most likely to run for governor or another top office in the future.

That’s a long list, obviously, and not all of them may aspire to run for office. But some of them are watching for a chance. Many of them will be benefited by Count My Vote, allowing them to get on the primary election ballot without having to navigate the caucus/convention system.

A little bad humor floating around the Internet, supposedly classified ads actually placed in U.K. newspapers:

FREE PUPPIES. 1/2 Cocker Spaniel, 1/2 sneaky neighbor’s dog.

FREE PUPPIES. Mother is a Kennel Club registered German Shepherd. Father is a Super Dog, able to leap tall fences in a single bound.

FREE YORKSHIRE TERRIER. 8 years old, Hateful little bastard. Bites!

COWS, CALVES: NEVER BRED. Also 1 gay bull for sale.

WEDDING DRESS FOR SALE . Worn once by mistake. Call Stephanie.

FOR SALE BY OWNER. Complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 45 volumes. Excellent condition, 200 or best offer. No longer needed, got married, wife knows everything.

Interesting read: Could Gov. Nikki Haley be drafted as the GOP nominee?