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Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Despite the delays, redistricting has been mostly fair

Published: Sunday, Oct. 9 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Webb: Democrats and do-gooder groups are accusing legislators of gerrymandering to benefit Republicans, while demanding that they gerrymander to benefit Democrats. That's called blatant hypocrisy. Legislators are being magnanimous to Matheson, giving him a district that is politically proportional to the one he has now. It won't all be the same voters, obviously, because that's impossible. He will have a fighting chance in the new district. Remember, Matheson almost lost last year in his old district to an underfunded Republican, thanks almost entirely to the national political climate. If Matheson loses in his new district, don't blame redistricting, blame President Obama. The president and the national political environment will have far more impact on Matheson's race than his district boundaries.

With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sarah Palin staying out of the presidential contest, is Utah favorite Mitt Romney the odds-on favorite to win the GOP nomination? Do these developments help or hurt Jon Huntsman?

Pignanelli: Romney can capture the support of traditional Republicans that were hoping for Christie. However, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the true "comeback kid" — don't be surprised if he bounces back in November. Huntsman has the ability to fill Christie's role of a straight talking governor, but he needs to adopt a creative message soon.

Webb: The nomination is Romney's to lose, but there will yet be plenty of ups and downs before the late-August GOP convention in Tampa. Romney has been steady and presidential and needs to remain so. But he can't sit on his lead, can't run out the clock. He must be aggressive and show some passion and fight. Most importantly, he needs to develop and champion realistic, in-depth solutions to the nation's problems, including entitlement reform, tax reform and deficit reduction. He must protect his Republican base, so he can't run to the center, but he shouldn't pander to the baser instincts of the far right.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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