Above The Fold Ale: Proof that I'm a political junkie: I get a kick out of legislative leadership races.--- They're very inside baseball, but the results can determine not only the long-term direction of the state but heavily influences the day-to-day operations of the Legislature.
This year, a very interesting race is shaping up in the House. Conservatives are apparently going to make a direct challenge to the more moderate (and extremely nice) current Speaker, Dave Clark. Surprising to me, they are led by Rep. Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo, and include conservative stalwarts like Rep. Craig Frank and Rep. Wayne Harper, according to the Trib's Paul Rolly .
Lockhart is especially interesting because she has slowly been working her way up the ranks, and was part of Clark's leadership team this last time as the assistant majority whip. Should she win—and she has a decent shot because many legislators are still frustrated with how Clark handled the Kevin Garn situation and lack of Utah County representation in leadership—it wouldn't surprise me to see the caucus become more vocally divided and leadership's relationship with the press, who Lockhart has never warmly embraced, become more confrontational.
What really surprises me is that those making the challenge does not include Rep. Carl Wimmer, who has put himself at the front of the conservative movement with the Patrick Henry Caucus. I'm also somewhat surprised that Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, isn't running for something, as well.
What still remains to be seen from Clark's faction is who will step forward to fill the shoes of Garn, who left as the disgraced majority leader after he admitted to hot-tubbing with an underage girl.
For more on this, Holly on the Hill offered a breakdown a few days ago.
Political Pocket Rockets: The Trib gave a rural Utah perspective of the Jim Matheson-Morgan Philpot race over the weekend: Matheson story here , Philpot story here. Also, Philpot draws a little attention from the national GOP. Gov. Gary Herbert sidled into his gala , collected hundreds of thousands of dollars, ignored protestors and Democrats. Ethics reformer hit with ethics complaint. Finally,so-called progressive Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker has an apparently genuinely progressive girlfriend.
3.2 Beer: The Salt Lake Tribune's editor explains their hiring binge. The LDS Church's Dallin Oaks talks gay rights and Muslim equality. The D.A. decides to build an office tower that is no closer to the courthouse than their current (leased) home and now anchors what could have become a great nightlife district for the city. Yeah, that makes sense.
Leisure Lager: A former journalist decides to follow the route driven by John Steinbeck in Travels with Charley 50 years ago. He's just starting, and will be blogging throughout.
Loftin Stout: The never-ending conundrum for pregnant women: drinking wine in moderation. One writer gives a lengthy, but entertaining, rundown of her own struggles with the issue.