Utahns elect their lieutenant governors, but one gets on the gubernatorial ticket only by invitation - making "running" for lieutenant governor a tricky task.
So, how does one campaign for a job where only one voter counts - the gubernatorial candidate?"You talk to people. You keep your options open. Maybe you do a little delegate work." That's how Genevieve Atwood looks at it.
Atwood, a former GOP Utah House member and the 1990 Republican nominee for the 2nd Congressional District, says with a laugh that she's "not dead politically, yet." And while she's still considering another race against Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, in 1992, the lieutenant governor's post is even more attractive. If the right gubernatorial candidate asks her, that is.
"The lieutenant governor's job, some say, is a dead end. Only the lead dog in the dog sled team gets a good view, the rest get the view of the rear of the leader. But I don't see it that way," she says.
As 1991 winds away, Atwood says she'll be talking to the leading Republican gubernatorial candidates, maybe keeping in touch with some of the GOP delegates who supported her in 1990.
Former Utah House GOP leader Olene Walker says she's interested in the lieutenant governor's post as well. "If it's past time for a woman to be governor of Utah, and it is, then it is way past time for a woman to be lieutenant governor," Walker said.
"The problem with lieutenant governor, though, is that you really can't run for it like some other elective office. You have to play games for a long time, and I don't know if I'm up to playing games," she said.
Conventional wisdom says gubernatorial candidates balance their ticket geographically in an attempt to draw convention delegates. No doubt that the 1992 Republican governor's race will be crowded. So each delegate will count.
Although no one has announced on the Republican
side for governor, three of the early leading GOP contenders are Lt. Gov. Val Oveson, U.S. Rep. Jim Hansen and former House Speaker Nolan Karras. Oveson is from Davis County via Utah County. Hansen is from Davis County and Karras is from Weber County.
Thus, it makes sense for them to look to Salt Lake County, the state's largest county, for a lieutenant governor running mate. Atwood and Walker have the right addresses. Both live in Salt Lake City.
There's different theories on how and when a governor candidate picks his running mate. Some name one well before the nominating convention. Others wait until the convention vote, picking one of the top finishers who didn't make it to the primary election.
One way to run for lieutenant governor is to run for governor early on, thus getting some delegates in your pocket as bargaining chips, used when the leading gubernatorial candidates come knocking. Utah has never had a female lieutenant governor, although several gubernatorial candidates have considered women for the post.
Atwood, who traditionally is a strong backer of women in politics, said other GOP women are looking at the lieutenant governor's post, including Industrial Commission member Dixie Minson and former GOP House member Georgia Peterson.
Said Atwood: "In the right administration, the lieutenant governor can make real contributions, especially in election law reform and state appointments. I think we need reform and I think we need new faces appointed to state boards - women, minorities and those who haven't had the chance to serve before.
"It's really a question of matching. I would only want to be on a ticket that I could really help get elected, and serve with a governor who holds the same basic philosophy as me - moderate on social issues, a fiscal conservative."