Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Understanding the future of the Republican Party

Published: Sunday, Nov. 18 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Webb: The way forward is difficult for Huntsman. Some elements of his approach are exactly what the national Republicans need, but his wing of the Republican Party is small. Remember that he was barely a factor in the GOP nomination race. The party has a deep bench of exciting new-generation Republicans, and Huntsman will have to be very skilled to emerge in the top-tier of the 2016 aspirants. Thankfully, the GOP's ardor for the tea party has cooled, but it's not quite ready to embrace Huntsman.

Utah Republican legislators recently selected their leadership team for the next two years. Does this offer insight to the future?

Pignanelli: Within two days of the election, Rebecca Lockhart was re-elected speaker of the House by Republican colleagues and was praised in public by Democratic Leader David Litvack for her leadership. Lockhart's gritty determination to conservative values — but open management style — places her in contention for a remarkable future. Wayne Neiderhauser has an established reputation for accountability and transparency in government operations. His elevation to Senate president will benefit the state through expanding these important endeavors.

Webb: Utah has big opportunities ahead, amid serious challenges. Success will require a mainstream conservative Legislature focused on practical problem-solving and consensus-building, rather than far-right ideological adventures. I believe the new leadership team is fully up to the task.

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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