Potential lieutenant governor appointments, and their odds

By Frank R. Pignanelli

By LaVarr Webb

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Oct. 6 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Former GOP chair Thomas Wright is highly regarded, politically ambitious and knows how to deal with the far right (13:1).

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser is a successful businessman and outdoors enthusiast who is similar to Bell in demeanor and approach (15:1).

Rep. Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, is an "up and comer" and brings the advantages of geography and business success (10:1).

Sen. Stuart Adams, a successful developer, would bring the Herbert administration deep transportation expertise and northern Utah support (15:1).

Radio talk show host Doug Wright is a moderate Republican with a huge following. He has seriously considered running for office in the past.

Few major state policy decisions that are made without the guidance of Zions Bank President/CEO Scott Anderson, so the lieutenant governor position would be a step down. However, everyone would applaud the nomination of this unique community leader (20:1). Other well-regarded business leaders with public policy expertise include Chamber President Lane Beattie (20:1), commercial real estate broker Mark Bouchard (22:1) and well-known entrepreneur Alan Hall (25:1).

Herbert may consider strengthening his rural support with popular southern Utah leaders like Sen. Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City, (20:1), Rep. Don Ipson, R-St. George, (20:1), Sen. Steve Urquhart (30:1), or former House Speaker Dave Clark (25:1).

Hinckley Institute Director Kirk Jowers is a close confidant of Herbert but as a player with the "Count My Vote" initiative, may be temporarily sidelined (35:1).

Sen. Curt Bramble would vigorously defend Herbert's policies in the Legislature and on the streets, but suffers a geography problem (25:1).

Herbert recalls his county commission days with fondness and could select an old friend for the role, former Davis Commissioner Dan McConkie (30:1).

Health care will be a major political and economic dynamic in the years to come and the governor may want to tap recognized experts Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, (25:1), or Rep. Francis Gibson (30:1). It's a very long shot, but several politicos believe Herbert's best choice is Congressman Rob Bishop. The wily former schoolteacher and House speaker could use the lieutenant governor slot to advance his public lands policy and set himself up to run for governor (100:1).

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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