Peter Corroon taps a Republican to be his right-hand ... woman.
Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, will ride shotgun with Corroon in his gubernatorial campaign this year, bringing a little bit o' elephant to the his already moderate campaign. Allen is actually stepping down this year as a legislator, having spent 16 years in the House of Representatives.
Allen has made a name for herself as a crusader for two key focuses of the Corroon campaign: ethics and education. In fact, there have really only been a couple of other Republican legislators who have been so aggressive in their pursuit of ethics reform on the Hill in recent years. Ironically, one of those is former Sen. Greg Bell, another Davis County Republican, who is the current lieutenant governor.
On KSL Radio's Doug Wright Show, where Corroon made his announcement, Allen said that she is a "lifelong Republican" but feel like Corroon is somebody that is more in line with her political values.
"Peter and I ... want to work together, as a Democrat and a Republican, to bring unity to this state and put the issues first."
Later in the interview, she returned to that idea.
"We want to put Utah first, not party politics."
Allen has also spent a good portion of her legislative career at odds with the usually more conservative Republican leadership. Those battles have probably hurt her with GOP insiders, but will actually probably help her (and thus, Corroon) when appealing to moderate Republicans, especially urban.
Allen's choice is smart by Corroon, and it will make Gov. Gary Herbert work harder for what seems to be a guaranteed nomination. It definitely helps with anyone the Corroon campaign can convince that Herbert and the legislator (especially the Patrick Henry wing) are one and the same. It doesn't help, however, with rural Republicans that Herbert has endeared himself to during his political career.