Fist bump: Michelle Obama appears headed to Park City in July
July 1, 2011
First lady Michelle Obama might visit Park City in late July, a fundraising trip that would again bring the spotlight of presidential-level politics to a community that hosted a lineup of top-tier names during the last White House campaign.
The chairman of the state Democratic Party, Wayne Holland, said this week the first lady is scheduled to travel to Utah and Colorado on July 26. Her itinerary while she is in Utah had not been set by late in the week, but Holland said it is nearly certain that a fundraiser for President Obama’s re-election bid will be scheduled in Park City with her in attendance.
"An event in Park City is pretty much a given," Holland said.
Holland said the organizers had not selected a location for a Park City event by late in the week. He said details about the trip, including the location of a fundraiser, could be finalized by early next week. It was not clear whether the first lady would make a public appearance if she visits Park City.
Her trip would come nearly four years after Barack Obama, then an Illinois senator, made two campaign stops on the same day in the Snyderville Basin one a fundraiser at a private residence and the other a rally in a parking lot in the shadow of the Utah Olympic Park that drew up to 1,000 people to listen to him deliver a stump speech. Obama went on to carry Summit County on Election Day, one of only three counties he won in Utah.
The local Democrats are pleased that Park City is on the itinerary, expecting that there will be lots of support when she visits. Glenn Wright, the chairman of the Summit County Democratic Party, said he anticipates a "fantastic reception" for the first lady in Park City.
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"Utah, being a hard red state, we don’t get a whole lot of attention in the campaign," Wright said.
Wright expects to attend an event in Park City featuring the first lady. He said a visit could provide a "good shot in the arm for all Democrats in the county and state." Partisan elections are next scheduled locally in 2012, and Wright said the visit could create buzz and enthusiasm for the Democrats that could propel them to gains in the local elections next year.
The chairman of the county’s Republican Party, Henry Glasheen, is pleased that the first lady will visit Park City as well. Glasheen said the first lady has performed well in her role. He said he will consider donating to the president’s re-election bid in order to attend a fundraiser with the first lady.
"It gets our voice out there . . . ," Glasheen said about Utahns who will attend the event. "They hear what we have to say. It’s fabulous."
The White House had not contacted the Park City Police Department or the Summit County Sheriff’s Office by Thursday about a visit by the first lady. Both agencies, though, would have a significant role in protecting the first lady if she visits Park City proper. The Utah Highway Patrol would also likely have a major role in the security planning.
Sheriff Dave Edmunds said it could cost the three agencies tens of thousands of dollars to provide security if she visits.
"It doesn’t matter what it costs. We protect her. Same thing we did for Bush," the sheriff said, recalling a fundraising trip George W. Bush made to Park City during his presidency.