Virginia General Election 2017

Virginia’s elections today affect us all. The state is gerrymandered to send 3-4 Democrats and 7-8 Republicans to Congress, even though the people vote slightly more than 50% Democratic. The House of Delegates and Senate that draw gerrymanders once every ten years are gerrymandered the same way and nearly always Republican controlled even though Virginia’s people prefer Democrats. Thus the Republican dominance perpetuates itself.

But a governor can veto gerrymanders. We just need one in office when the new maps are drawn and he can force the legislature to produce a fair map or the courts will have to step in and draw a less biased map on their own if the governor and legislature don’t agree.

There is one catch. Maps are drawn in years ending in 1—like 2021—but can be delayed until the next year if necessary. Virginia elects new governors (they cannot be re-elected) in 2017 and 2021 to take office in 2018 and 2022 respectively. So a Republican governor can sign off on a new biased set of gerrymandered maps by winning in either 2017 or 2021. Democrats have to win both elections to restore democracy to Virginia and stem the five seat headwind we face in the national Congress just from Virginia. (The Republican gerrymanders in states they redrew in 2011 accounts for the entire Republican margin of control in the United States House of Representatives.)

The governor’s race is close today between Republican Gillespie and Democrat Northam with Northam holding a tiny 3-point lead in the polls and 10-20% undecided.

But look at the weather in Democrat-heavy northern Virginia:

The red line is temperature and the brown is chance of rain. Thanks to the National Weather Service. Democrats and data scientists know that government agencies and government sponsored research are essential sources of data to understand our world.

Now look at blood red Virginia Beach weather:

So tough it out, Dems. Remember your jackets and get out to vote.

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Have Utahns Killed Immigration Reform?

Comprehensive Immigration Reform isn’t going to pass in 2010.  It was introduced only because President Obama promised to try.  Congress isn’t going to advance the bill in a year when there are ten million unemployed Americans and ten million undocumented immigrants working in America.  You can explain why those two numbers don’t have any real connection but congressmen don’t want to go home to their districts before an election to explain that.

But 2010 isn’t the last chance.  Congress could try next year or the year after that.  Now it looks more and more like it might be impossible to pass a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill.  And Utah may have been the state that made it impossible.

Not many incumbent congressmen run for reelection and lose.  Typical reelection rates range from 95% to 99%.  Many fewer still lose in a primary.  But here in Utah we’ve fired one of three congressmen and one of two senators in the past two years.  That’s the kind of record that makes congressmen and senators with their extreme job security and entitled attitudes perk up and pay attention.

When Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT3) defeated Rep. Cannon in the primary, immigration was one of the top issues.  Cannon was a leader for President Bush’s radical open borders immigration agenda.  I heard Republicans talking about Senator Bennett’s vote for the Bush immigration bill at the convention last month before they sacked him.

Now there are always other issues.  TARP passed with 75 senate votes in 2008 including Bennett and Hatch.  It and other multi-billion dollar giveaways to bankers will always pass with plenty of votes as long as Congress can be bought for money.  Whatever Tea Partiers say, being an appropriator and bringing home earmarked capital projects will always be an advantage for a senator like Bennett.  And everybody already knew that treating constituents and partners with disrespect like Cannon did was dangerous.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform is the one issue I see that would likely have passed without Utah’s primaries in 2008 and 2010 but now will face long, long odds.  It’s a classic issue where Washington elites of both parties are nearly unanimously in favor but the people are doubtful.  Usually those eventually pass quietly attached to some other bill.  This time, though, two of the most powerful men in the country have lost their jobs in consecutive elections of the most terrifying kind — primaries.

That’s going to solidify Republican opposition.  In 2006 Bush’s bill passed the Senate with 23 Republican votes.  With only a few scared Republican votes and far less than all the Democrats, the Obama Comprehensive Immigration Reform won’t pass.

Of course the national media will say it was John McCain, enthusiastic proponent of Bush Immigration Reform, who blocked the issue after reversing positions in his primary.  Especially if he loses.  But McCain is sure to take after his good buddy Joe Lieberman who lied to the public about the war through his election and went right back to being a mindless warmonger when he was back in Washington.  Once (if?) McCain is renominated in August, he’ll be a reformer again.  The real effect on congress will be the forty or more Republican senators who get the message and block any progress.  And that is the Utah effect, not McCain’s.

Meanwhile there are at least fifteen million undocumented people in our country with no right to vote, to the minimum wage, to safe working conditions, to go to the police when threatened with a crime, to form a union, to be free from discrimination and sexual harassment, to organize their communities and protect the quality of life, or to petition the government for redress of grievances.  And there’s no prospect things will get better.

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Vote For Jim Matheson

It’s simple.  I’ve seen Claudia Wright campaigning and met her friends and she’s great, but she isn’t going to best Morgan Philpot in November.  Jim Matheson will.

Folks who think a Democrat without name recognition and with no intention of getting her hands dirty raising at least half a million dollars can be competitive in the Second district in a Republican year just don’t understand what R+20 means.  An R+20 district is one where a generic Republican can expect to do 20 points better than the national average in a general election.  The Second district is not a swing district like it was before the 2001 redistricting;  it’s strong Republican.

I won’t tell you that Jim Matheson is a closet liberal doing his best in red territory.  If you really listen to him, it’s obvious he’s far too smart and detailed in his convictions in favor of the neoliberal Washington Consensus to be faking it.  But he does good things for us on transit funding , nuclear testing, nuclear waste transport and cleanup, public lands conservation, keeping a Utah voice in the Democratic majority, and other local issues.

The only reason you should hope for Matheson to lose is if you think you’d be better off with a Republican working hard with big money special interests to divide your community, pave your open space, taint your air and water, impoverish your kids’ school, give your taxes to bankers, send your job overseas, and carry out the rest of the Republican platform.

I imagine there are a few Democrats who really think that.  If you’re a citizen of Washington County who loves your bucolic rural small town way of life, you might like having a Republican.  Certainly you would be better off with a representative ranting about the font on the President’s birth certificate than a smart and effective congressman working to drive multi-billion dollar water project subsidies so that developers could pound your county into the next Vegas megalopolis.  But that is the only argument you can make.  It’s not enough that Claudia Wright would be better.  You have to argue that you would actually be better off locally with a bad congressman than one whom you sometimes disagree with.

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Doesn't Money Matter In Politics Anymore?

I’m disappointed in the Republican candidates.

Here in Utah, the Republican candidate usually wins statewide races.  This year we have a United States Senate seat up for election and the two candidates for the Republican nomination are reporting a week before the primary that they have raised only $218,000 and $182,000 each.  That includes all money raised for the convention and testing the waters before the primary.

  Bridgewater Lee
Raised $182,000 $218,000
From Candidadte $392,000 $45,000
Total $574,000 $263,000*

* – Mike Lee’s reports have not been submitted and processed by the FEC, this data estimated based on old reports and SL Trib article

A US Senate seat is worth raising money for. When you’re so close to the Republican nomination it’s as easy as fund raising will ever get.  If you’re really qualified to manage a three trillion dollar budget, you know people who can send you a lot more money than this for such a good shot at the job. Bridgewater isn’t even trying very hard but throwing his own corporate welfare earnings into the campaign instead, which is a valid but unfortunate choice.

Polls seem to show Lee ahead so far in spite of Bridgewater’s money.

In November, you’ll have the choice of Sam Granato.  As a Democrat in Utah, he won’t find it as easy to raise money as the Republicans;  big donors prefer to give money only to the sure thing.  But he’ll work a lot harder for us.

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Chevron Oil Spill Cleanup in Liberty Park

Standard Oil of California (dba Chevron) was out in force in Liberty Park.  They had a lot of big trucks and one little canoe with a U-shaped boom trying to clean up oil slicks in the pond.  The Trib says the ducks and geese have been taken to Hogle Zoo for scrubbing.

The water looks browner and less green than I’m used to in June, but that’s probably because of all the rain we’ve been getting.Cleanup in Liberty Park

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More On Partisanship In The 2009 Utah Senate

Looking at last year’s legislature, Utah Democratic Party Executive Director (and Utah politics guru) Todd Taylor asked, “Would you consider posting or sending me a list of the 58 partisan votes? It is interesting where the difference in the Parties really are versus what people think they are.”

Yes, it is interesting. Overwhelmingly the real differences are on schools and conservation of Utah’s environment.  Guns, gays, war, and tax rates aren’t as controversial in the legislature as campaign ads would have you believe.

Seven bills here focus on school funding, teacher licensing, teacher pay, classroom expenses, and the like.  Republicans want to set standards and require uniform policies;  Democrats want to respect the experience of individual teachers and support local control.

Six bills focus on public lands, water rights, outdoor quality of life, and clean air and water.  Dems want us to have clean air and water and open space;  Republicans want to defer those priorities in favor of industry and development.

Three bills each focus on access to health care, access to justice in the courts, and voting rights.

Then there are two futile message bills about abortion and one bill each on immigration, ethics in government, the right to organize a union, consumer protection, professional licensing, and attempts to reform convicted criminals.

Bill Action
1st sub HB 126 PASSAGE ON SECOND
1st sub HB 173 PASSAGE 2 & 3 UNDER SUSP. RULES
1st sub HB 2 PASSAGE 2 & 3 UNDER SUSP. RULES
1st sub HB 90 PASSAGE ON THIRD
1st sub HJR 8 PASSAGE 2 & 3 UNDER SUSP. RULES
1st sub SB 53 PASSAGE ON THIRD
1st sub SB 53 PASSAGE ON THIRD
1st sub SB 69 PASSAGE 2 & 3 UNDER SUSP. RULES
1st sub SJR 16 PASSAGE ON THIRD
1st sub SJR 16 PASSAGE ON SECOND
2nd sub HB 100 PASSAGE ON THIRD
2nd sub HB 100 PASSAGE ON SECOND
2nd sub SB 208 PASSAGE ON THIRD
2nd sub SB 208 PASSAGE ON SECOND
3rd sub SB 208 CONCUR WITH HOUSE AMENDMENT
HB 179 PASSAGE ON THIRD
HB 179 PASSAGE ON SECOND
HB 197 PASSAGE 2 & 3 UNDER SUSP. RULES
HB 198 PASSAGE ON THIRD
HB 222 PASSAGE ON SECOND
HB 222 PASSAGE ON THIRD
HB 241 PASSAGE ON SECOND
HB 27 PASSAGE ON THIRD
HB 278 PASSAGE ON SECOND
HB 278 PASSAGE ON THIRD
HB 328 PASSAGE ON THIRD
HB 345 PASSAGE ON THIRD
HB 390 PASSAGE ON SECOND
HB 390 PASSAGE ON THIRD
HB 412 PASSAGE ON THIRD
HB 412 PASSAGE ON SECOND
HB 445 PASSAGE 2 & 3 UNDER SUSP. RULES
HCR 8 PASSAGE 2 & 3 UNDER SUSP. RULES
HJR 7 PASSAGE ON THIRD
HJR 7 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SB 111 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SB 173 PASSAGE ON THIRD
SB 173 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SB 176 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SB 214 PASSAGE ON THIRD
SB 214 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SB 216 PASSAGE 2 & 3 UNDER SUSP. RULES
SB 223 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SB 225 PASSAGE ON THIRD
SB 241 PASSAGE 2 & 3 UNDER SUSP. RULES
SB 4 PASSAGE 2 & 3 UNDER SUSP. RULES
SB 48 PASSAGE 2 UNDER SUSP. OF RULES
SB 48 PASSAGE ON THIRD
SB 61 PASSAGE ON THIRD
SB 61 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SB 77 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SB 77 PASSAGE ON THIRD
SB 79 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SCR 1 ADOPT CONFERENCE COMMITEE REPORT
SJR 14 PASSAGE ON THIRD
SJR 14 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SR 2 PASSAGE ON SECOND
SR 2 PASSAGE ON THIRD
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Utah Legislature 2009 Partisanship

As we see our Utah Legislature gearing up for the 2010 general session, here are the partisan voting percentages for the 2009 Senate.

The methodology for this table is explained in this post.

(Updated Tuesday because I cut off Senator Dayton’s entry cutting and pasting the first time.)

Senator Party D Votes R Votes Missed Votes Democratic Percentage
Dayton R 3 55 0 5.17%
Okerlund R 3 55 0 5.17%
Stephenson R 2 54 2 5.17%
Waddoups R 2 54 2 5.17%
Buttars R 1 52 5 6.03%
Jenkins R 4 52 2 8.62%
Killpack R 1 48 9 9.48%
Madsen R 2 49 7 9.48%
Knudson R 5 50 3 11.21%
Bramble R 1 45 12 12.07%
Niederhauser R 5 49 4 12.07%
Stowell R 6 50 2 12.07%
Urquhart R 6 50 2 12.07%
Christensen R 6 49 3 12.93%
Liljenquist R 6 48 4 13.79%
Valentine R 5 46 7 14.66%
Greiner R 8 45 5 18.10%
Hinkins R 13 43 2 24.14%
Hillyard R 9 37 12 25.86%
Bell R 12 39 7 26.72%
Van Tassell R 13 40 5 26.72%
Jones D 42 14 2 74.14%
Mayne D 43 14 1 75.00%
Davis D 44 13 1 76.72%
Morgan D 49 9 0 84.48%
Goodfellow D 49 1 8 91.38%
Robles D 53 3 2 93.10%
McCoy D 54 2 2 94.83%
Romero D 55 3 0 94.83%
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Utah Stories

Friday I visited the credit union to update some signature cards.

The banker (what do I call a credit union banker?) asked me whom I intended to vote for for President of the United States this year. You shouldn’t offend your banker so it’s best not to discuss politics, but I can’t suppress my faith in democracy so I always just say what I believe. I told her I was looking forward to casting my ballot for Barack Obama.

“Good,” she replied. Leaning forward across her desk she lowered her voice, “I think that Hillary is a communist.”

We rode in the Bike Week ride with the mayor as we have in previous years. Lately we’ve brought the little ones along in bicycle trailers and Trail-A-Bikes. It slows us down a bit but Rocky and the police escort kept everyone together by holding open intersections through a light cycle and keeping a modest pace at the front.

The ride has changed with Ralph Becker at the helm, though. A well-known fitness buff, our new mayor left us in the dust. Pretty soon we were hanging off the tail end of the ride with our heavy and not so aerodynamic cargo of tots. The police escort was zipping up to the front to keep the mayor’s peloton corked. We’re going to have to start training now to keep up with Blueprint Man next year.

We biked down to the Living Treditions festival over the weekend to see art and crafts from around the world and to make fish kites with the little ones. The festival was fascinating as always, but a little more breeze would have been welcome for the kites and to cool us off.

While I was there I saw Erika George registering festival-goers to vote. Erika was elected last weekend to be an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Denver this Summer. This weekend she was out on the ground spending her weekend growing democracy.

I hope the rest of you delegates are taking the honor as seriously. I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

My rural Utah brother in law is putting together a pick up truck. He’s also colorblind. On a recent trip to the big city — Logan — he found a new tailgate for cheap. What he couldn’t tell is that it has a beautiful hand-painted gay pride flag painted across it.

Now my brother in law is straight and he was considering painting over the design once I told him about it. I suggested it would be simpler just to put his NRA sticker up on the camper shell and dare anyone to give him any guff.

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Utah Democratic Party Convention 2008, Part 1

The Utah Democratic Party held our state convention at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace on Friday and Saturday May 9th and 10th. It was exactly two years ago at the Jefferson Jackson dinner of 2006 that our late great governor Cal Rampton addressed the assembled Democratic Party of Utah as our keynote speaker.

Springmeyer and BicycleThis weekend we nominated Bob Springmeyer to be Utah’s next governor. Here he is looking gubernatorial with his elegant green English 3-speed. The bike comes complete with generator lights and fenders; our next governor comes complete with handsome bow tie.

The convention convened at 5:00pm on Friday May 9th. We delegates were quickly dispatched to our respective district caucuses to elect national delegates. I attended the District 1 Obama caucus room where we listened to over 30 candidates giving two minute speeches telling us why they should be national delegates for Barack Obama. Our caucus was not the largest. District 2 Obama delegates had several more candidates to consider even than we did.

One candidate had lost a son in Iraq. One organized a wildly popular event for Barack Obama to meet some of his supporters who couldn’t be $2300 donors in the short while he spent in Utah. Several talked about being Obama organizers right from the beginning when he declared for President. A few talked about the way Obama has excited the youth of America. Three or more of them were the youth of America running for delegate in their early twenties. One stood up for the reenergized motion of “people of a certain age.” One Utah law professor told the story of meeting Obama in a Chicago gymnasium many years ago where he encouraged her to aspire to and attend his alma mater of Harvard Law School, which she did.

Mayor Corroon, Mayor Becker, and Senator McCoy gave great speeches, too.

I wanted to vote for them all but we could only pick three. It was a very hard decision to make.

I had a family event in the evening and didn’t think I’d make it to the Jefferson Jackson dinner where Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer was speaking. I’d have really liked to hear Schweitzer, a great Western Democrat, but the tickets were sold out before I could be sure I had time to go. Attendees told me later that the Salt Palace sound system wasn’t working right and I might not have been able to hear him speak anyway.

The Dine-O-Round is on this week so I took Amy downtown to Caffé Molise for a fancy dinner of cappelini, garlic, vegetables, sausage, tangy goat milk cheese, gelato, and more for a very low price. You can (and should) get out and try the delights of Salt Lake City dining on the Dine-O-Round program through the 17th.

We returned to the convention after the JJ dinner to find out which delegates had been chosen and the counting was still not done. Thanks to state party executive director Todd Taylor for filling us in on the final results in the comments.

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Utah Democratic Party Convention 2008, Orton And McCoy

The convention excitement started early this year with an email from Senator Scott McCoy (D-SLC). (Scott is my senator and I campaigned for him.)

Dear Utah Democratic Delegates,

I write to share some information with you that you might find relevant to your decision in electing our Democratic National Committeeman at the state convention on Saturday, May 10.

Our current National Committeeman is Bill Orton. As National Committeeman, he is tasked with representing Utah at the Democratic National Committee in Washington, DC. He is an elected party official for the state Democratic Party and is expected and required by party rules to support our Democratic candidates for office locally and nationally.

In 2006, I was the incumbent Democratic state Senator representing the Salt Lake City-based Senate District 2. I ran for election, having been appointed in 2005 to serve out the remaining unfinished term of Senator Paula Julander who was forced to retire due to an illness. I was chosen by the delegates to be the Democratic candidate in the race. I had the endorsement of every other elected Democratic Party leader. Fortunately, I won my race and continue to serve in the Utah Senate.

Sadly, during that race, Bill Orton publicly endorsed and supported my Republican opponent and my Republican opponent actually touted Bill Orton’s endorsement against me in a direct mail piece to the voters of the district. Why Bill Orton did such a thing, you will have to ask him. In any event, the bottom line is this: our elected Democratic Party leaders should support our Democratic candidates in general elections against Republicans. On this basic principle, I hope we can agree.

Because Bill Orton endorsed my Republican opponent in my Senate race, I don’t think he deserves to be our Democratic National Committeeman any longer. On this, I hope you will agree too. We need a Democratic National Committeeman that will work to get Democrats elected in Utah, not more Republicans.

Incidentally, I support Joe Hatch for Democratic National Committeeman. I know he will support and represent us well.

I hope this information is useful to you as you decide for whom to vote in the race for Democratic National Committeeman.

Democratically yours,

Sen. Scott D. McCoy

I know the facts in Scott’s letter to be true.

There were stories about the letter in the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News. Senator McCoy engaged the commentors in the online editions of both both dailies, ably defending his position.

Orton And JarvisThe flyer where Orton endorsed Jarvis didn’t mention Jarvis’ political party affiliation.

When I first saw the flyer I expected Orton had decided not to run for reelection as National Committeeman.

Of course, local analysts never believed McCoy would be in danger in the District 2 race. He won in the end by a comfortable margin. But politicians are by nature afraid of the people in election years — that’s healthy for Democracy — and Scott was right to be upset.

Bill Orton responded with a missive of his own.

Democratic Delegate:

Last week you received an e-mail message from Senator Scott McCoy asking you to vote against me for National Committeeman. I have attached my response letter to Senator McCoy if you are interested in reading it. I am proud of the many years of service I have provided to the people of Utah and the Democratic Party. I ask for your support and vote tomorrow at the Utah State Party Convention for National Democratic Committeeman. Thank You.Bill Orton.Senator McCoy:

In response to your complaint of my actions in endorsement of my close friend Dr. Joe Jarvis, I submit the following. I find your complaint suspect if not hypocritical in light of the fact that you were a registered Republican until immediately before you came with your supporters to a special meeting of delegates to replace Senator Julander in what Party leadership and the delegates thought was an uncontested election to replace Paula with her husband Rod. After the first ballot, most delegates left believing Rod had won, but failing to win 60% by 2 or 3 votes on the first ballot, on the second ballot with all of your supporters present, you, a Republican, were elected to replace Senator Julander. Of course you switched your party affiliation to Democrat, which I applaud. The following year, in 2007, you appeared before the Stonewall Caucus and made a statement in support of Brian Doughty, a Republican, running against a Democrat for the Salt Lake City Council (a non-partisan race). In endorsing his candidacy, you said that you knew he was a Republican but that electing more members of the LGBT community to political office was more important than partisanship. Other Democratic office holders at the caucus said that they were not going to be endorsing him. Of course Mr. Doughty switched his party from Republican to “unaffiliated” in an effort to win the election. I believe that you have every right to endorse anyone you wish, but your endorsement of a Republican calls into question your complaint of my endorsement of my friend.

I would be happy to explain to you, and anyone else who is interested in the facts, about my endorsement of Dr. Joe Jarvis.

First let me explain that Dr. Joe Jarvis is my neighbor, we attend the same church, our children play together and we have been very close friends for many years. He is the nephew of Boyer Jarvis, one of the strongest leaders the Utah Democratic Party has known. When I ran for Governor of Utah in 2000, Dr. Joe Jarvis was the first volunteer to walk in the door and he pressed my campaign to support universal healthcare for all Utahns via a single payer system – a plan so liberal that even the Utah Democratic Party had not endorsed it.

We never even discussed party affiliation, but through our discussion of healthcare and other political issues, Joe’s positions on multiple issues gave me the impression that he was certainly a liberal Democrat. He donated money and hundreds of hours for my campaign. Shortly after the 2000 election, Dr. Jarvis asked me if I would be willing to serve as a volunteer Board Member on a non-profit foundation which became the Utah Health Policy Project, which has been working for years and is now a major player in healthcare reform in Utah – continuing to push for a single payer system to provide healthcare for all Utahns.

It was one night after one of our healthcare board meetings that Dr. Jarvis expressed frustration at the many years of working from the outside and failing to make any progress on healthcare reform. He then said that he had been thinking of running for political office to see if he could work from the inside on healthcare reform and asked if he did run if I would help him and endorse him. After all of the help he had given me, the hundreds of hours he had volunteered on my gubernatorial campaign in 2000, our years of friendship, how could I say NO? Why would I say NO? We were both working for universal healthcare for all Utahns. He did not even know what office he might be considering. Several months went by and after another board meeting Dr. Jarvis told me that he had decided that he was going to run for the Utah Senate against Scott McCoy. I told him that it would be an uphill battle to knock off a sitting Senator in a convention battle or a primary, and I urged him to find another race, an open seat or a Republican to challenge.

It was then that he told me that he was going to run as a Republican against Senator McCoy. He had to pick me up off of the floor. I asked him how he could possibly be a Republican with his stand on political issues. I told him that he was not a Republican. I argued with him for days. My wife and I went to dinner with he and his wife and we argued with them. In the end, it was his belief that if he were elected as a Republican, within the majority, he would have a greater chance to get healthcare reform legislation enacted. I told him that he was dreaming, that even if he won, once the GOP in the legislature figured out his stand on issues they would isolate him just like they do all of the Democrats and the few moderate Republicans. All of my arguing was to no avail; he was determined to run for the seat as a Republican. I told him that he would not win the seat because it is one of only 2 or 3 really safe Democratic seats in the Utah Senate. It did not matter, he was determined. So, he had my endorsement, for what it was worth, and my advice. But I told him that I could not go out and actively campaign for him, and I did not. Senator McCoy won with the same percentage of the vote as Senator Julander, so my “endorsement” resulted in no loss of votes for Senator McCoy. Had I refused to endorse him, I could have lost a dear friend. In the end, political endorsements mean little or nothing. Look at Massachusetts, Senator Kennedy and the whole Kennedy clan plus the Governor endorsed Senator Obama and Senator Clinton won the state primary in a landslide. One final thing for your consideration, in the Utah Democratic Party, we consider the work that you have d one and are doing FOR our party. In the 2000 election there was a candidate for the 2nd Congressional District who ran against our Democratic Congressman on the Green Party ticket. Today he serves the party as a loyal staff member and over the past 4 years has helped to build this Party in ways never before imagined. We don’t look to the past; we look to success in the future. I am proud of my decades of service to the people of Utah and the Democratic Party. I hope that this has answered your questions. If not, please ask.

Bill Orton

Bill Orton wasn’t at the 2005 caucus where Scott McCoy was nominated to the Utah Senate and much of his description is inaccurate. Orton also makes minor mistakes in his history of Craig Axford’s involvement in the last paragraph, though the general impression of our innovative local DNC organizer is correct.

I feel like Orton also downplays his own history too much. As a Democratic congressman for six years representing a district several points more Republican than Jim Matheson’s, his record was arguably more liberal than Matheson’s. Today Matheson holds the single most Republican district represented by a Democrat in the nation; no Democrat has held a district as Republican-leaning as Orton’s was since he left. Orton also ran against the most popular governor in the nation in 2000 and came close enough to give Leavitt a scare.

He still shouldn’t have endorsed a Republican, though.

Popular and rock solid liberal Salt Lake County Councilman Joe Hatch defeated Bill Orton to become Utah’s Democratic National Committeeman Saturday May 10th at the Democratic State Convention.

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