Congressman Wayne Owens brought House Majority Leader Thomas Foley to Salt Lake City on Friday to drum up support for the re-election bid of Utah's lone Democrat in Washington.
Volunteers served up sloppy joes while supporters milled around an airplane hangar at the Executive Airport Terminal waiting for Owens' chartered flight to arrive as a Dixieland jazz band blew out snazzy tunes.Four dozen supporters started out the evening expecting Owens' scheduled 6 p.m. arrival. By the time the plane pulled up after 7 p.m., the crowd had dwindled.
The hardy held up signs and children clutched balloons as Foley and Owens got off the plane and shook hands.
Local supporters rolled out the red carpet, which looked more like a red bathroom rug, for Foley and Owens, who arrived about 90 minutes later than scheduled from the nation's capital.
Owens has "done a fantastic job, a wonderful job for the state of Utah," Foley, D-Washington, told reporters. "I think he's one of the most effective and dedicated representatives."
Owens, D-Utah, called Foley "a kind of role model - a Western Democrat who went to Congress . . . and votes his principles."
The mutual-admiration society between the Washington Democrat and the Utah Democrat continued with Foley hailing Owens as a representative who "eminently deserves the re-election."
The latest Deseret News-KSL-TV poll showed Owens leading Republican contender Richard Snelgrove 55 percent to 33 percent.
"I'm expecting it's going to get very tight and very tough" as the election draws closer, Owens said.
And the congressman said that while he'd rather have some Democratic company representing Utah in the House of Representatives, being in the majority party helps get things through.
"I'm the one who works with the majority," Owens said, citing work to help push through funding for the Central Utah Project.