There's a chance Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will be in Utah again before the state's Feb. 5 primary but fans of his chief rival for the party's nomination, Hillary Clinton, may have to settle for her daughter, Chelsea.
Nothing is official or even definite but Obama supporters are hearing that the Illinois senator will make a campaign stop in the state on Feb. 2 for what would be his second public appearance here.
"We've heard that as well," said Anne Filipic, Obama's state director in Utah. "Right now we don't have any information he'll be here for sure."
But Clinton's backers have little hope of seeing the New York senator in Utah before the state's presidential primary. However, there's talk that her campaign will send a high-level surrogate her daughter, Chelsea, who has started speaking out on the campaign trail.
Clinton has not come to Utah during the 2008 campaign. Last November, though, former president Bill Clinton, paid a visit to the state and raised some $350,000 through a Park City fundraiser and a speech at the University of Utah.
"I don't have the details about any specific visit at this time," said Donald Dunn, Clinton's representative in Utah. "Certainly, Utah is on her radar."
Both campaigns have set up offices in Utah and both are running television commercials in advance of the primary. While Utah is a Republican-dominated state, there are Democratic delegates up for grabs, too, in that election.
Obama targeted the state early. He held a Park City fundraiser last August and attracted hundreds of Utahns to a hastily organized rally held along the way just off I-80. To date, he is the only presidential contender to appear before Utahns at a free event.
His campaign announced Thursday it has opened a St. George office, making Obama the only candidate to have two campaign offices in the state. Filipic said Washington County "has seen a growing Democratic base."
Also Thursday, Obama's campaign launched statewide TV ads, starting with a 30-second spot titled "Need," a commitment to "stand up for the middle class." Filipic said she did not know how much was being spent on the Utah ads.
Clinton's Utah efforts include the currently airing 30-second TV commercial, "Warning," that focuses on the nation's growing economic crisis. Her campaign also held a press conference at the Capitol with legislative supporters.Rep. Jackie Biskupski, D-Salt Lake, said Democrats statewide "are completely energized by what's happening with Hillary." Biskupski said Clinton has four full-time staffers working in Utah and a presence in Salt Lake and Summit counties.
Contributing: Elaine Jarvik
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