Like Mark Twain before him, Democrat Kenley Brunsdale says widespread rumors of his political demise are premature.

He says he has not given up politics - which looked especially bright for him last year when if just 6,000 more people had voted for him instead of Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, Brunsdale would now be in Congress. He vowed almost immediately after his close loss to run again next year.But Republicans in Washington and Utah spread rumors in recent days that Brunsdale had decided to end his political career and even move to Alaska after his wife filed for divorce last week.

Brunsdale, contacted in Alaska by telephone, said he has taken a temporary job there that will last through August but that he plans to return to Utah.

About running again, he said, "I'm keeping all of my options open. What's happened does not preclude any political decisions that I may make."

Davis County court records show that his wife, Celestia, filed for divorce on May 6 on the grounds of "irreconcilable differences."

Brunsdale said, however, that the breakup is proceeding on "very amicable" terms, and they "are still very good friends. It is just in each of our best interests. We are helping each other as much as we can."

He said he is disappointed that the rumors spread, and worries about damage to his wife and son - and the invasion to their privacy. Brunsdale also said parts of rumors claiming questionable behavior on his part "are totally outrageous."

Brunsdale added that he has left his job as an attorney at the Salt Lake firm of Fabian and Clendenin, but said it "was on amicable terms and with an open invitation to come back." He said he is practicing law privately, and took on a project in Alaska to allow him to get away for a while.

"I felt like I deserved some time off. It's been a rough few months losing the election, losing the pipeline cases (seeking to prevent a gas pipeline through Davis County, a major campaign issue) and now this."

He said he will continue to represent the interests of several cancer victims of open-air atomic testing and uranium mining, and will continue to help Wasatch County in some of its lobbying efforts with Congress.