Utah's Republicans in Congress pledged last week to do all they can to help Genevieve Atwood beat Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah - and started out by bad-mouthing him.
The remarks came at a press conference that capped a three-day trip to Washington for Atwood, where she convinced the national Republican hierarchy that she can win and obtained its pledges for the maximum support possible.Her fellow Utah Republicans lauded Atwood but were less kind to Democrat Owens.
Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, who once selected Atwood as his parliamentarian when he was speaker of the Utah House, said, "It seems to me she is going to win this. And if I may say so, it would be nice to have somebody who would work with the rest of the delegation. I haven't seen that in the past four years.
"And I would like to have someone who isn't off in the Antarctic or chasing wolves or some other thing, and someone who would work very diligently for the 2nd District in Utah."
Owens, of course, has sponsored legislation to prevent mining in the Antarctic and to reintroduce wolves into Yellowstone National Park.
Retiring Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, said, "She would be more easy to work with. The delegation would not be polarized on some issues as it has been. She would be less selfish in her work than Mr. Owens."
Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, said, "She has a background that is particularly impressive. We've got a lot of attorneys and businessmen. . . . She brings a degree in geology and long years of experience in that field. To have that different type of background I feel would be very, very helpful."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who like other Republicans has fought with Owens on environmental issues, said, "Genevieve has tremendous talents, a tremendous professional background. Her approach to the environment is a sound one. It's not off the wall."
The Republican National Congressional Committee earlier in the week after meetings with Atwood gave her $5,000 for the general election - the maximum cash contribution it may make.
She said Thursday it also agreed to give her $10,000 to reduce her debt for her campaigns for the state convention and primary. She had lent her race $100,000 for those campaigns and said the debt-reduction money will free up some of her old loan money for the general election.
She said the national committee also agreed to give her the maximum-allowed $52,000 in "allocable costs" of in-kind services to aid her campaign.
Atwood also said the national committee just finished a poll that confirmed results of her own polling that showed "Wayne is under 50 percent and I am within 10 points, and that means my campaign is viable."
She also held a fund-raiser Thursday hosted by Republicans in the delegation, where she said she hoped for $10,000 in contributions and pledges. She said her minimum general election campaign - which would not have TV ads - would cost $130,000 - but she hopes to spend about $250,000.
Owens had a little more success at two fund-raisers of his own in New York City on Wednesday, where he was accompanied by his friend, actor Robert Redford. They brought in $25,000 from environmental groups and people who he said are interested in his Foreign Affairs Committee assignment, ranging from American Jews to Greeks and Armenians.