Democratic Party leaders hope the state's top Republican leaders don't turn an election-eve appearance with with two space shuttle astronauts into a political event and have requested that their candidates get equal billing on the program.
Democrats said they find it curious that the shuttle astronauts will appear at a Morton Thiokol rally to thank employees with GOP incumbents the day before the election. Gov. Norm Bangerter said he will attend with Sen. Jake Garn. A spokesman for GOP Rep. Jim Hansen said Saturday Hansen had not decided whether to attend.State Democratic party chairman Randy Horiuchi said Saturday the gubernatorial candidate Ted Wilson and 1st District Congressional candidate Gunn McKay should be invited.
A spokeswoman for Morton Thiokol said that Commander Richard Covey and pilot Frederick Hauck, both on the recent shuttle flight, were invited to Utah by Garn.
The astronauts will arrive Sunday night and participate in a half-hour parking lot rally at Thiokol's plant west of Brigham City on Monday. A limited number of employees and their families have been invited to attend the rally.
Bangerter's aide Francine Giani said that charges that the rally is political are ridiculous.
"They have requested a state representative. He (Bangerter) is still the governor despite what the Democrats may or may not want. He has a right to be that state representative and he was the one that was requested," Giani said.
Dave Dixon, spokesman for Democrat McKay, said voters should look at the implications. Hansen and McKay are running for the district in which Thiokol is located.