Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole, R-Kan., made a brief stop in Salt Lake City Monday to tell Utahns it makes no sense to vote for George Bush and Orrin Hatch and then to switch parties and vote for Ted Wilson and Wayne Owens.
In a press conference at the Salt Lake City International Airport, Dole encouraged Republicans to stick with their party this year."I'm traveling the nation to help many Republican governors, Senate and Congress candidates," Dole said. He added he believes the presidential race is decided, with Bush winning by a significant margin. He wants a Republican team from Richard Snelgrove - the GOP 2nd Congressional District candidate - to Gov. Norm Bangerter to work with the new Republican administration.
Dole was supposed to visit Utah on Bangerter's behalf two weeks ago, but he canceled out because the Senate was still in session. Dole was the keynote speaker in June's Republican state convention in Cottonwood High School, but his visit was overshadowed when the convention fell into an uproar over independent candidate Merrill Cook's brief flirtation with challenging Bangerter for the GOP nomination.
With polls showing that Democrat Michael Dukakis is closing in on Bush in a couple of key states, state Republican leaders doubt that Bush or President Reagan will visit Utah before the Nov. 8 election. The president and Bush are concentrating their efforts in huge swing states of California, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri. So Dole may be the biggest name that comes to the state this last week of the campaign.
Bangerter said he is pleased with his showing in the polls, even though he hasn't been gaining on Wilson as much as Wilson has been losing support to Cook and to the undecided ranks.
"We are anything but discouraged. I knew that we had to get the World Series over with and that people would begin to concentrate on this election the last two weeks or so," said Bangerter.
The governor added that he believes that to win the election, he'll need between 40 and 42 percent of the vote in the three-way race. The most recent Deseret News/KSL-TV poll conducted by Dan Jones and Associates showed Wilson at 40 percent, Bangerter at 33 percent and Cook at 21 percent.