Democratic leader, liking chances in November, visits Park City |

Democratic leader, liking chances in November, visits Park City

by Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

The chairman of the state Democratic Party likes the party’s chances in two high-profile campaigns involving candidates from the Park City area.

Peter Corroon, the leader of Utah’s minority political party, said in an interview last week the Democrats could capture District 54 of the Utah House of Representatives and perform well in the 1st Congressional District.

The District 54 campaign pits the incumbent Republican, Rep. Kraig Powell, against Summit County Democratic Party Chairman Glenn Wright. The challenger has previously campaigned unsuccessfully for the state House of Representatives.

Corroon said Wright, a veteran, also offers a military and business background. The campaign in District 54 will be decided by voter turnout, Corroon predicted.

"He’s just a great, well-rounded person. He’s well spoken. He knows the issues up in Summit County. He’s a person who we feel can win this race if we can get the voters out to vote for him," Corroon said.

He said District 54 is winnable for the Democrats, prompting the state party to put resources into the campaign. Corroon said the party will provide volunteers and staffers.

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In another campaign that will be closely watched in Summit County — the 1st Congressional District — Corroon said the Democratic candidate, Donna McAleer, has an opportunity for what would be one of the great upsets in this year’s congressional campaigns. She is challenging the incumbent Republican, Rep. Rob Bishop.

Bishop beat McAleer by a wide margin in the 2012. McAleer, a Pinebrook resident with a military and business background, won the Democratic Party’s nomination for a rematch with Bishop.

Corroon said Bishop can be defeated this year.

"I think our entrenched candidates are always vulnerable because I think oftentimes they take the vote for granted. And if you have a Democratic candidate who will work hard they can overcome the incumbent," he said.

Corroon said McAleer is "battle-tested" and "runs a campaign with a lot of precision." She understands where her focus must be after having run in 2012, he said.

"She’ll be a Utah representative where, unfortunately, I think many of our representatives are more concerned with the Republican national platform than what’s going on at home in Utah," Corroon said.

Corroon visited the Park City area on Friday as part of his efforts to travel to each of the counties in the state. He met with Park City and Summit County political leaders during the visit.

He said issues like education, air quality and health care are important to the state Democrats. Other issues of importance to Park City, he said, include education funding and affordable housing.

"I like to say everybody in Utah’s a Democrat they just don’t know it yet," Corroon said.

He also talked about Summit County being one of the party’s strongholds. The Democrats hold a majority on the Summit County Council. Democratic candidates on the state and congressional levels have long enjoyed strong showings in the county even as they lost the campaigns based on the results elsewhere in the districts.

"We believe that Summit County can help transform, or start to transform, Utah into a more evenly balanced state politically," Corroon said.