Democrats in Utah are bound to be unhappy because of redistricting; they can expect to lose two to three seats in the state House. While Hispanic population has grown in the west side, Salt Lake City’s population in general can’t keep pace with the huge growth in South Jordan, Herriman and Lehi. So it was sad and laughable to witness a recent redistricting-committee meeting at the Salt Lake City Main Library. There were impassioned pleas to keep communities of interest together. People were drawing lines that looked like donut holes or pizza slices, and nothing worked well. Senate President Michael Waddoups said he likes the idea of putting a little rural in every urban district. While it won’t help rural districts, it could hurt the urban ones. Most participants seemed to like Rep. Fred Cox’s idea of drawing lines blind to incumbents, but that method has already sent California into shock.
Mike Winder has been scraping his way into Utah politics for some time now, most prominently as West Valley City mayor, a guy with an idea a week—such as English lessons for Hispanic immigrants and L. Ron Hubbard Centennial Day. Then there were the paid section-cover ads in the daily newspapers where Winder touted the merit of EnergySolutions. Finally, the Deseret News’ Clark Gilbert, who’s never met a free writer he didn’t love, announced that Winder would write a column for the paper. Thankfully, someone must have convinced him of the error of his ways because Gilbert has since sent out a staff memo saying no sitting office holders will report for the News. Of course, according to Winder, he’ll still be siphoning news of West Valley to the D-News reporter there.
These days in Utah, it’s not about whether you’re a Republican, but rather how “right” you are. Now, polls show that Sen. Orrin Hatch is in a run for the money—probably against Rep. Jason Chaffetz—because he’s not conservative enough. The issue used to be that Hatch was as old as Methuselah and that he really wanted a singing career, but now it’s that he doesn’t meet the standards of FreedomWorks, a tea party-esque group working the state. And despite speaking out against gays and more federal spending, Hatch still gets only a 74 percent lifetime rating from the conservative Club for Growth.