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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended August 20, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 26Aug00

Summarized by

Are More Utah Mormons Going Democratic?

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- At the recent Democratic National Convention, gubernatorial hopeful Bill Orton denied the effectiveness of a profile that was developed seven years ago by Brigham Young University political scientist David Magleby. Orton, who served three terms in Congress and was recently a delegate at the convention said, "I voted my constituency." It has successfully worked for Orton, a Mormon, who won three elections while representing one of the most conservative Republican districts in the nation.

"It's a mistake for a party to go after somebody [as a candidate recruit] because they fit a profile," said David Nelson, a Utah delegate and gay-rights champion. "It has rarely, if ever, worked." Nelson has claimed that "profiling" is a result of misguided reliance.

Orton still sees room for diversity within the Democratic Party and credits the shift to the political middle being the most dramatic in recent years. "The spectrum has really swung in the Democratic Party," said Orton. "We are bringing the party back to what we believe are the core values and concerns of the people."

Orton saw Democrats identifying with the liberal fringe issues as a thing that turned many Utah voters away. He now sees Utah party loyalists returning, as Republicans lunge to the ultra-conservative right. Democratic activists are charging the Utah Republican party with radicalization.

"Their party is tipping over to the right side, where the Democrats were once tipping to the left," he said. "It doesn't matter which side you are going off on" when you start losing touch with the mainstream. House Minority Leader Dave Jones blames the GOP extremism for scaring Republicans and causing them to switch parties.

At a recent candidate training meeting a few weeks ago, Jone aske 65 aspirants if any of them were former Republicans. "Amazingly, about one-third of them raised their hands," said Jones. "Instinctively, they know something's wrong in Utah and it has to be fixed," he added.


As GOP Shifts to Right, Demos Move to Middle, Utahns Trading Parties
Salt Lake Tribune 15Aug00 T2
By Dan Harrie: Salt Lake Tribune


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