Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: The political dynamics of Utah's congressional districts

Published: Sunday, Feb. 5 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Webb: Rep. Rob Bishop has been a very conservative, very reliable lawmaker for many years. He's been a tea party favorite and hasn't faced serious competition either from within or without the Republican Party. But in today's tumultuous politics, even Bishop could face a challenge from his right. With Utah's nomination process dominated by the far right, no one can be comfortable.

Pignanelli: I have heard that some tea party activists may challenge Bishop because he did not comply with 100 percent of whatever agenda they pulled from the mother-ship orbiting Jupiter. The best response is to laugh.

3rd District

Webb: Rep. Jason Chaffetz should cruise to the GOP nomination and easily win the general election. But Chaffetz also is hearing grumbling from some tea party quarters because he is a visible and vocal Mitt Romney supporter.

Pignanelli: Some believe Chaffetz's actions on behalf of Romney is an angle for a job. I disagree. I love playing explosive video games with my boys — so we can deliver all sorts of virtual TNT to our cyber-enemies. Chaffetz is on a similar high — blasting political opponents is fun and great publicity. The congressman is obviously enjoying the detonation of so many targets (Newt Gingrich and President Barack Obama supporters).

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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