Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis swept the Utah Democratic caucuses Monday night and is expected to win Pennsylvania's Tuesday primary, continuing his march to the Democratic presidential nomination.
With about 90 percent of the Democratic caucuses reporting in Utah, Dukakis had 71 percent of the vote; the Rev. Jesse Jackson had 17 percent; Sen. Albert Gore, who dropped out of the race last week, had 1 percent; Sen. Paul Simon, who also has suspended his campaign, had 4 percent; others had 1 percent; and 11 percent were uncommitted.Utah Democratic Party Chairman Randy Horiuchi said he estimates when all the voting is tabulated, Dukakis will get 15 delegates, Jackson will have three and two will be uncommitted.
"That makes up the 20 delegates that were up for grabs Monday. We also have eight super delegates. Dukakis already has three of those votes, mine, Rep. Wayne Owens and our national committeewoman, Norma Matheson," Horiuchi said. Thus, Dukakis picked up 18 delegates in Utah.
"It was a great showing by Dukakis. But it was also a fine showing by Jackson. Getting 17 percent of the vote clearly means he got a lot of white votes, considering blacks make up only 1 percent of the state's population," said Horiuchi.
The Republicans also held party caucuses Monday night, as did Libertarians, Social Workers' Party members and American Party members.
Republicans didn't take a vote on presidential candidates since Vice President George Bush already has the nomination wrapped up. Instead, Republicans voted on vice presidential preferences as well as local candidates.
State GOP Chairman Craig Moody said the results of that vice presidential straw poll weren't taken over the telephone, as was the Democrats', but will be mailed in or dropped off at party headquarters in Salt Lake City. "We won't have the results for several days, but I know that Elizabeth Dole (wife of former GOP presidential candidate Sen. Robert Dole), Howard Baker (White House chief of staff), and Interior Secretary Donald Hodel all were named," Moody said.
Horiuchi was pleased with the turnout of Democrats. Moody said Republicans attended in greater numbers than in 1986, but not as many as he had hoped.
"I think we had 10,000 to 12,000," said Horiuchi. "That's better than 1984 or 1986. We're enthusiastic. That's great, considering we didn't have a big intraparty challenge to draw people out."
Moody said, "Maybe we had a 50 percent increase in attendance. But we'd hoped for 100-300 percent increase. If we'd had a governor's contest I'm sure we would have had more." Industrialist Jon Huntsman dropped out of the governor's race a week and a half ago, and Gov. Norm Bangerter, while still facing a minor intraparty challenge, will be the Republican nominee.
The Deseret News sent reporters to caucuses in Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties to get a feel for what the party loyalists were thinking and talking about.
Levity and sarcasm were the order of the night at a Republican caucus in the West Jordan area. Jokes and snide remarks directed at GOP gubernatorial candidate Bangerter and one-time candidate Huntsman abounded.
When the party, in a video-taped message to party faithful, made a plea for contributions to keep the party strong, the dozen voters on hand erupted into laughter.
"Pull out your wallet or purse and contribute what is inside," encouraged Salt Lake County GOP Chairman Donna Dahl in the taped message.
"Isn't that what Robin Hood said?" quipped Keo Chai.
The laughter aside, these Republicans freely and openly expressed dissatisfaction with their party's slate of candidates. A few even expressed their determination to vote for Democratic candidates.
"I'd rather see Ted Wilson in there than Bangerter," said Jarl Jacobson.
In a straw vote, only three of 12 said they supported Bangerter's re-election bid. Most Republicans said they would vote for Bangerter and other GOP hopefuls, albeit reluctantly. They would have preferred that candidates face challenges.
Bangerter also took a lot of heat from Utah County Republicans, some of whom even questioned his integrity and use of tax dollars.
Several of those selected as county delegates expressed solid support for tax-limitation initiatives, saying tax limitation is long overdue and will force educators to clean up their act.
The party caucus in Voting District 2072 in Salt Lake City shows the problems the Democratic Party faces in attracting active support from the poor.
Only five people, all Hispanic, attended the meeting at the home of Richard Gallegos on Jackson Avenue which is just west of I-15 and a half-block north of North Temple.
"This is about all that attend any more," Gallegos said apologetically. In Davis County, Republican County Chairman Steve Smoot said turnout was higher than he expected for the caucuses there, especially considering there were no hotly contested races.
Smoot said he saw no organized attempt by any special interest group, such as the tax rollback supporters, to pack the caucuses. But he did say he saw a move toward a more conservative stand by party members, which he believes is due to the backlash from recent tax increases. "They feel their voice should be heard, too," Smoot said.
In Farmington, Davis County Democratic Chairman Rosemary Wall said attendance at the meetings was the best the party has recorded in several years, and the party also managed to organize several legislative districts that have not had leadership in many years.
Student support for Jackson helped boost turnout in District 2184's Democratic caucus, located in the Avenues near the University of Utah. Ten of the 15 votes cast went for Jackson, with the remaining five going to Dukakis.
District Chairman Michael Belangie said the 1988 presidential race brought more than twice the number of participants than had attended any previous mass meeting in the eight-block district.
Belangie said Jackson has sparked interest among activists in the academic community. Among the students gathered spilling onto the floor in Belangie's living room were members of the U. group Students Against Apartheid.
One of those students, economics major Salem Ajluni, sported a Jackson campaign button and told the group that his candidate represented a return to leftist politics among Democrats.
Other participants, including an architect, spoke of Jackson's candidacy as representing traditionally liberal ideas such as equal rights for women and reducing the defense budget.