Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
Upstart Smith Suddenly the Darling of National GOP Leaders
Salt Lake Tribune 6Jul00 D2
By Dan Harrie: Salt Lake Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- In what is expected to be the first in a
tag-team effort by Republican congressional leaders to back a
political newcomer, U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey declared
the Republican Party's undying support for Derek Smith in Utah's 2nd
Congressional District election.
Prior to Smith's convincing defeat of Cook in the recent Republican
primary, Armey said. Cook "is the one guy that they [Democrats] most want to
avoid in the general election." "He beats Democrats." But now Armey is a
Smith man. Smith, a political newcomer, will face Democrat Jim Matheson in
the November election. The stampede to stand behind Smith is important to
"It's glorious," said Smith spokeswoman Laurie Maddox. "It's wonderful.
We've been alone in this, and now that Derek's the nominee it's extremely
gratifying to have this support," Maddox added. Wasting no time in joining
Armey, National Republican Committee Chairman, Tom Davis, vowed support for
the challenger. Davis called Cook a "fine representative" who would be
missed. "I wish him all the best, and I am confident he will join us in
supporting Derek Smith this fall."
Yet, that support doesn't appear likely. Cook has declilned to talk to
Smith since the election. He claims that he is owed an apology for being
called a "liar" and "slime" by candidate Smith's camp. He has even
suggested running in a write-in campaign.
Maddox, has made it clear there will not be an apology. All members of
Utah's all-Republican delegation will attend Smith's rally or send a
representative. There will be one notable absence. "The whole delegation
will be there except for you-know-who," Maddox said. Even Gov. Mike Leavitt
is expected to be in attendance.
Money will be an important aspect of the show of GOP unity behind Smith.
"We expect a whole different ballgame in the fund raising now that Smith is
the nominee," Maddox said. "This is still one of the top targets, if not
the top one in national congressional elections," she said. "It's basically
an open seat now."