Despite Michael Dukakis' convincing victory in the New York primary, Jesse Jackson supporters in Utah still believe their candidate has a shot at the presidency.
"I still think that he still is in fairly good standing for the national convention. New York has a lot of prestige, but it doesn't carry the whole ball of weight," said Michael Ortega, vice chairman of Jackson's Utah campaign.Dukakis took 51 percent of the New York primary vote against Jackson's 37 percent. Sen. Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee came in a distant third with 10 percent of the vote.
The results left the Utah Dukakis faithful cheering. "This goes way beyond expectations," said Jason Chaffetz, co-chairman of the state campaign. "Dukakis is now the obvious front-runner. There still is a long way to go. We still are worried about getting enough delegates to be nominated."
Chaffetz predicts the New York win along with the endorsements of several of Utah's Democratic elite, including former Gov. Scott Matheson and Rep. Wayne Owens, will help seal up a Dukakis win in the state's mass meetings April 25.
"The biggest hurdle we have is getting out people to vote on April 25. After New York, the spotlight is going to be on Utah. We're pressing everywhere we can," said Chaffetz.
The Jackson campaign has found increasing numbers of Utahns joining its ranks and plans to open an office Thursday.
"We still believe Jackson is the only one proposing a full agenda, but if Dukakis wins in some sort of wild dream we could support him," said Ortega.
Included in the Utah Dukakis attack is a visit by Dukakis' daughter, Andrea, Thursday through Saturday.
Both Chaffetz and Ortega spoke cautiously about the possibility of a Dukakis-Jackson ticket.
"I don't know if it would work. Dukakis and Jackson are independent and strong leaders, but it sure sounds like a winning ticket," said Ortega.
Chaffetz said he wasn't sure Jackson would be willing to be on a Dukakis ticket.