In the pre-election KUED 7 gubernatorial debate aired in 2008, Democratic candidate Bob Springmeyer said to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.: “I’ve challenged you, and I’ll challenge you again, Jon. Will you make a commitment for a full four-year term?” Huntsman said, “That’s exactly what I intend to do.” Springmeyer: “And you’ll commit to finish out a full four-year term?” Huntsman: “That’s been our commitment, absolutely.”
Huntsman clearly and unambiguously broke the promise. Who could have seen it? Huntsman is more interested in being a diplomat, which is compatible with his life goal and accumulated years of executive experience and education.
In 2004, Huntsman was chosen by the Utah Republican Party in a contentious round that ultimately kicked to the curb Gov. Olene Walker, who served after Gov. Mike Leavitt left office for similar reasons as Huntsman. Utah Republican Party autocrats believed Huntsman, with impressive credentials on his résumé including corporate executive experience, not to mention being a practicing Mormon, would serve as a useful tool to control the state of Utah with its rigidly socially conservative attitude.
Huntsman, with warts and all, double-crossed them by liberating state alcohol law, affirming gay civil unions, etc. The ultraconservatives whined in a temper tantrum at the betrayal. However, Huntsman committed a greater betrayal—he broke the promise to serve a full term as a duly elected governor for the second time with a record margin. Which is worse in betrayal?
I believe that despite Utah being one of the reddest states in the Union (thanks, Utah County!), the voters should contemplate Huntsman’s betrayal of a broken campaign promise and give the Democratic Party a chance to govern the state after 25 years of Republican rule. Vote blue, blue, blue to outrun red.
We ,the progressives and non-Mormons—who support the separation of church and state, which is not the case with Utah government run by overwhelming majority of Mormon executives and legislators—definitely don’t want to see Utah controlled by haughty, holier-than-thou Utah Republican Party theocrats who will run the state into the ground with more regressive laws.