Summarized by Eric Bunker
Can 'Mormon Card' Grab the Jackpot?
Salt Lake Tribune 17Oct99 D2
By Rebecca Walsh: Salt Lake Tribune
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- In the upcoming mayoral elections, the voters
will have to decide between two men who call each other 'cuz,' as
they are descendants of one of the five wives of William Hyde, an
early Mormon bishop for whom the Cache County hamlet of Hyde Park is
named. Running is the Democratic and very liberal Rocky Anderson,
who is only a Mormon by birth, and the Republican Conservative Stuart
Reid who is making his active involvement in the Church a campaign
issue, including his years as an police chaplain and public affairs
official for the Church.
Of the cities and towns in Utah, Salt Lake City is the one that has
the highest percentage of non-Mormon residents, with some saying that
it now has more non-Mormons than Mormons. Church members in Utah
tend to be mostly conservative Republican, while the non-Mormon
population has large Democratic liberal leanings.
Before the days of the railroad, the Salt Lake City mayoral position
was almost a church calling, with its first mayor being Jedediah
Grant, father of Heber J and counselor to Brigham Young. This
started a nearly 40 year long line of Mormon Mayors until 1890, when
the city had its first non-Mormon mayor.
Since then and up until now, religion didn't really seem to be much
of an issue in city elections with mayors being non-Mormons as often
as not. The present mayor, Deedee Corradini, who is Protestant, ran
twice against Mormon men and won. Religion was never a part of those
campaigns as city issues up until now have generally been about
functional infrastructure and never about core moral values.
Never the less, religion is a part of this election as Anderson is
pushing a very liberal agenda for the city, including gay rights
issues and Reid is countering that by displaying his religion as an
asset, hoping that his display of the ́religion cardî on these moral
issues will sway voters. However, some political pundits think that
this may actually backfire for Reid because of the high non-Mormon
population of the city.