Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: How will the presidential race affect Utah campaigns?

Published: Sunday, Oct. 21 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Currently, moderates are divided. Some are in the Republican Party, outnumbered. And some are in the Democratic Party, voting for candidates who can't win. They can't combine to forge a majority. But if they, along with liberals, were voting in the Republican Party, they'd be a real force. We'd have a more moderate state. A more moderate Legislature. One-party rule isn't so bad if it isn't too extreme. You can get things done.

Utah's 4th Congressional District race is a bloody battleground with dueling polls and lots of negative campaigning. Who's winning?

Pignanelli: Polling experts are in a quandary: Jim Matheson and Mia Love exchange places almost daily over who is leading and usually by no more than 1 to 2 percentage points. Female voters in District 4 are switching allegiances with frequent regularity. Thus, Utahns will see more advertisements that feature women praising/criticizing Matheson/Love. This race will defy easy predictions until Election Night.

Webb: Lots of voters are disgusted with, and are tuning out, the negative advertising in the 4th District. With both sides (mostly outside PACs and independent groups) engaged in nasty advertising, voters aren't sure who to blame. The sympathy vote doesn't seem to be going one way or the other.

Republicans will be better organized and have a far bigger turnout. Matheson has to hope that many Republicans feel a need to vote for at least one Democrat. By most measures, Love should win.

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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