ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
Posted 16 Apr 2001   For week ended April 13, 2001
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church

Sent on Mormon-News: 12Apr01

By Kent Larsen

Cannon, Cook, Others Seek to Lead Utah Republicans

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- It's always been a little tough to be a Democrat in mostly-Republican Utah. Apparently, it's getting just a little bit tougher to be a Republican as well. In stark contrast to the past, when the Utah Republican Party appeared to be fairly conservative and monolithic, new factions and coalitions are emerging to challenge the current GOP direction and status quo. All of this indicates that the upcoming selection of the State Chairman for the GOP Party may turn into quite a fracas.

The changing face of the GOP contingent was brought into sharp focus at the state GOP candidate-nominating convention last year when disaffected members of the Party loudly booed perennial Party favorites Sen. Orrin Hatch and Gov. Mike Leavitt. GOP Party officials are concerned that they might see a repeat performance if the same group turns out for the organizing convention to be held later this year. The rogue Republicans represent a vocal and growing contingent within the GOP party that feel mainstream representatives have lost touch with Utah's core GOP base, who want to see more active leadership regarding morals issues such as homosexuality and abortion.

The cast of characters in this political drama are diverse and, quite possibly, divisive. First of all, there is the probable GOP "favorite son" candidate, Joe Cannon. Cannon is graduate of J. Reuben Clark Law School and an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He is best characterized as a fiscal conservative with moderate views on social issues and is best known in the state of Utah as the erstwhile savior of Geneva Steel a decade ago. Cannon, a favorite amongst GOP party insiders, has all but officially announced that he wants to be the next state chairman. His prospective candidacy has excited party organizers and officials because they expect Cannon to unite the various factions within the party, including those who complain of being abandoned and disenfranchised.

Next, in the role of the proverbial "prodigal son," we find the ever-mercurial Merrill Cook. Many of those among the Party faithful who are disenchanted with the current direction of the Utah GOP are closely aligned with Cook and his populist ideas. Cook, who has an almost rabid following in some quarters, is also running for GOP party chairman and is expected to receive support from at least a third of the delegates.

A "dark horse" contender, Vicki McCall, chairs a Cabinet-level advisory board in the Defense Department. McCall, an Ogden real estate broker, says she has not been approached to run for chairman, but is flattered that her name was mentioned. While party insiders seriously doubt that McCall is a strong candidate, her name is frequently mentioned when Republican party faithful study possible leadership scenarios. Certainly, her close ties to Utah power brokers like Congressman Jim Hansen indicate that she bears watching as the GOP seeks new direction and new leadership.

Finally, there are the "spoilers," relative newcomers who are not necessarily the choice of the GOP party elite, but have made significant inroads in the recent past. These prospective candidates, Glen Davis and Greg Hawkins, have individually and collectively challenged Sen. Orrin Hatch and Gov. Leavitt, arguably the most powerful men in Utah outside of the Church office building. Davis successfully forced Leavitt into a primary election, lost to Leavitt, and then endorsed Democratic gubernatorial challenger Bill Orton. Hawkins nearly forced Hatch into a primary, then joined forces with Davis as his running mate during the Republican primary election.

Although you'll need a scorecard to keep track of the players, this year's GOP organizing convention promises to be a departure from the norm and may even rise to the level of exciting and entertaining. Just one more indication that it's no longer business as usual for the GOP in Utah.


Utah Republicans Seek Leader to Build Bridge to Conservatives
Salt Lake Tribune 8Apr01 T2
By Paul Rolly: Salt Lake Tribune


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information