Gov. Gary Herbert defeats Peter Coroon in special election for Utah's governor
The governor saw his standing in the polls climb steadily, especially after Corroon compared his fundraising activities to those of disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during one of their last debates.
In the end, despite spending nearly as much as Herbert and traveling thousands of miles by bus around the state, Corroon appeared to make little headway with the independent and moderate GOP voters a Democrat needs to win statewide.
State GOP Chairman Dave Hansen said voters rejected Corroon's negative message. "Gary Herbert is a nice guy. Everybody likes Gary Herbert," he said.
What he expected Corroon to do was to use the race to introduce himself to voters outside the Wasatch Front to ready himself for another run in two years.
Instead, Hansen said Corroon faces the embarrassment of being associated with the type of campaign that "does not work in Utah." To run again, Hansen said Corroon will need to apologize to voters.
Political observers agree the race may be repeated again in two years.
Herbert is already expected to seek re-election, although there's some suggestion he may face a challenge from members of his own party. He fended off GOP opponents this time by amassing $1 million at his first Governor's Gala soon after taking office.
And while Corroon has not committed to another run for governor, he is still seen as his party's best hope of recapturing the office. The last time a Democrat was elected governor in Utah was when the late Scott Matheson won a second term in 1980.
Both likely will have to start raising money soon for another bid for the Governor's Mansion. This race cost the two candidates well over $4.5 million from their campaign and political action committee accounts.
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