While two former Utah governors were calling on Democrats to return to the fold, the incumbent Republican governor was basking in the warmth of a new poll showing this year's race in a dead heat with the election only a day away.
But waiting in the wings is an independent candidate who says his continued strength in the polls is a clear indication that people support his call for a tax cut and believe he is the only one who will deliver on that promise.At a Sunday night press conference, former Democratic governors Scott Matheson and Calvin Rampton called on Democrats who have moved into the fold of independent candidate Merrill Cook to realize that Cook can't win and return to support Democrat Ted Wilson on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Gov. Norm Bangerter, at his own press conference, said he believes loyal Republicans are returning to his support based on new polls that show he has erased the Democratic lead. He said his campaign has picked up momentum, and he expects to win a second term. "We believe the trend lines are there," said Bangerter.
A Deseret News/KSL poll published Sunday shows Bangerter and Wilson both with 36 percent of the vote, Cook at 24 percent and just 3 percent undecided.
Matheson and Rampton said the Sunday poll results prompted the last-minute press conference. Matheson said he believes the attention given to the tax-limitation initiatives on Tuesday's ballot has drawn attention away from the governor's race, and he sees a need to refocus on who will govern the state. He and Rampton believe Wilson is the best candidate.
The former governors said Cook's strong showing and complacency among Wilson campaign workers have worked against the Democratic hopeful and they believe a firm and final reminder is needed to regain momentum in the campaign.
Cook said his continuing strength, especially when polls show the tax-limitation measures losing support, is a clear indication that it is his campaign that has the momentum and that he will emerge victorious on Tuesday. "My supporters are committed and they will be going to the polls in large numbers. That is what will make the difference."
While all have different opinions on who will win, the candidates and their supporters all agreed that the race is close and getting their supporters to the polls may make the difference in the contest.