Where I Stand 2008: State Offices
This is the last post in a continuing series of candidate and issue endorsements for the 2008 election cycle.
This is a three way race between incumbent Jon Huntsman, Jr. and Gary Herbert (R), Bob Springmeyer and Josie Valdez (D) and "Superdell" Dell Shanze and Joey Hobbs (L). Since I don't vote for candidates who've gone off their medications, Shanze is right out, leaving the choice between Huntsman/Herbert and Springmeyer/Valdez. The Democratic ticket, unfortunately, doesn't really provide much information on their website as to what exactly they want to do if elected. There's some rants about hating corporate handouts (I agree), the number of uninsured in Utah (which could very well be code for socialized healthcare), school performance, wages… and no solutions. If someone isn't serious enough to provide a list of what they want to do as Governor, then they don't really want to win. Huntsman and Herbert win this round by default.
Mark Shurtleff (R) is defending against Jean Welch Hill (D) and Andrew McCullough (L). Thankfully, all three candidates have done a great job at providing information about who they are and what they hope to accomplish.
Andrew McCullough largely has the right idea on using a light hand in enforcing state law, but I don't agree with his intention to stop prosecution of drug offenders and polygamists. Jean Welch Hill is a much more mixed bag with a bizarre screed about opposing vouchers and spending on health care, something that is well outside of the responsibilities of the office she is running for. I fear that Welch and McCullough are both showing a strong tendency towards using the office of AG as their own bully pulpit for pet issues.
Aside from making some "creative claims" regarding implementation of the voucher bills passed in the 2007 legislative session, I don't really have any complaints about Mark Shurtleff and the job he has been doing. I think he remains the best choice for this position.
This is a two-way race between Dick Clark (D) and Richard Ellis (R). Both have significant experience in the financial world and are highly qualified for office, but Richard Ellis also brings significant experience in government finance to the table without the burden of incumbency to give him that slight competitive edge. Had the race been between Walker and Clark, Clark would have gotten my vote hands-down.
It's no surprise that the thread of candidates without information continues in yet another race. Neither Richard D. Proctor (C) or Mike Stoddard (L) have websites and the voter information guide provided by the state shows both with rants for their respective parties. That kind of laziness immediately reduces this to a choice between Auston G. Johnson III (R) and Clare Collard (D). Both candidates are very well-qualified, but Johnson didn't bother to put up his own campaign website. He's also been in the office since 1995, a bit too long for anyone to be sitting in any one office. In this case, I think some turnover is about due (unlike Treasurer where it's a pair of newcomers) and I'll be casting my vote for Clare Collard.
State House District 48
I thought I had my mind made up long ago, but my choice of candidate dropped out of the race to leave me with a choice between Lavar Christensen (R) and Trisha Beck (D). I had negative opinions of both candidates going into it, but what can you do? Someone has to get elected and it had better be the best candidate. I sent both candidates a list of questions regarding their positions to guage which one I would consider to be the better choice. I sent both candidates an e-mail with a long list of questions. Both replied but neither did so via e-mail.
Trisha asked that I call her directly and I asked a few questions on a brief phone call. Unfortunately, the answers were largely vague generalities. Considering her prior service in the legislature and long record of community involvement, I'd think she'd be able to articulate at least a few position statements or preferred solutions. I came away from the conversation feeling like she either didn't have a grasp of the issues or was uncomfortable detailing where exactly she stands. I expect better from someone who's running such a hard campaign with lots of volunteers, signs and door-to-door appearances.
Lavar went a step further and setup a time to come to my house and talk to me. In fact, he was in my living room for over an hour and a half. I came away from that meeting feeling very confident that I totally had the wrong impression of who he is and what he's about prior to that meeting. I feel confident in saying that Lavar Christensen is not just a better choice, but a good choice. I plan to vote for him and even put one of his signs in my yard.
State School Board District 11
This is a non-partisan race between Dave Crandall and Ted Heap. Ted's got a lot going against him, unfortunately. Not only did he nearly get knocked off the ballot by failing to file his campaign finance disclosure form, but he's also steeped heavily in developer money, something Utah politics is far too awash in. He's also failed to really get much else about himself out there. Dave Crandall, on the other hand, has prior experience as a member of the board of trustees for a charter school and comes from a technology background, something we need more of in politics. I'll be casting my vote for Dave Crandall for school board.