Democrats say Gov. Norm Bangerter is "playing politics" with the economy by taking credit for the recent decisions various companies have made to move to Utah.
But Bangerter's campaign manager said Wednesday the Democrats hate to hear good economic news because they fear it will hurt the chances of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Wilson.State Democratic Chairman Randy Horiuchi started the latest round of gubernatorial campaign bashing Wednesday by issuing a statement that accused Bangerter of "hogging the credit" for bringing PEPCON and other companies to Utah.
PEPCON, a rocket fuel manufacturer that decided to move to Cedar City after an explosion at its plant in Henderson, Nev., was attracted to the state by Utah Power & Light Co. officials, Horiuchi said.
"Gov. Bangerter is playing politics to make himself look good to the Utah voters," he said. "I think they (Bangerter's staff members) really are doing everything they possibly can to corral notoriety for Gov. Bangerter to help him boost his political fortunes."
He said Coldwell Banker was primarily responsible for persuading Great-American Insurance Co. to locate four divisions in Salt Lake City. Bangerter called a news conference last week to announce the move.
Horiuchi also said Bangerter was premature earlier this summer when he announced that California-based AMF would move to Spanish Fork.
Horiuchi said companies are easily persuaded to allow Bangerter to take the credit.
"It's sort of like stepping into the ring with (heavyweight boxing champion) Mike Tyson. You sort of are going to agree with whatever the governor says he wants done," Horiuchi said.
"It's so frustrating when you're a challenger; even though Ted has the lead, to see an incumbent be able to marshal the entire resources of a $2.7 billion corporation, which is the state of Utah, and use it to his advantage," he said.
Horiuchi said he decided to issue the statement after UP&L officials called him to complain.
But Dave Buhler, Bangerter's campaign manager, said PEPCON would not have decided to come to Utah if the governor had not called a special legislative session to authorize a state financing plan for the company.
"To say the governor wasn't involved is ludicrous," Buhler
aid. "That's absurd even for Randy to say."
Buhler said good economic news is "probably a little unsettling" for Democrats.
"I just hope his (Horiuchi's) comments won't torpedo projects in the works that might bring in thousands of jobs," he said.
Bangerter's aides have promised frequent news conferences to announce new businesses in Utah.
In addition to PEPCON and Great-American Insurance, Bangerter has recently announced that Everex Inc., a computer company, will build a plant in St. George and a farmers' cooperative will begin a milk-processing plant in Wellsville, Cache County.
The Deseret News reported Wednesday that the governor had little to do with enticing the milk-processing plant.