This is not exactly a "man bites dog" story, but the Deseret News reports that a Dan Jones poll of over 600 active voters conducted October 11-13 shows that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Lee holds a solid 22-point lead over Democrat Sam Granato in the Utah U.S. Senate race to replace Bob Bennett. The specific numbers:
-- Mike Lee (R): 53 percent
-- Sam Granato (D): 31 percent
-- Scott Bradley (Con): 3 percent
-- Don't Know: 11 percent
-- Other: 1 percent
[Ed. Note: For the record, the Utah Elections website also lists three officially-recognized write-in candidates for the U.S. Senate: Loy Brunson (Unaffiliated), Cody Judy (Unaffiliated), and Brian E. Kamerath (Lib).]
This is not attributable to any lack of effort or coalition-building by Granato. Not only has Granato secured the endorsement of the Salt Lake Tribune, but there's a growing laundry list of elected Republican officials who've endorsed him as well. These include serving GOP mayors such as Randy Watts of Logan; Gayle Bunker of Delta; Connie Tatton of Midway; Russ Wall of Taylorsville; and Gary Showalter of Vernal. Current GOP county commissioners listed as endorsing Granato include Henry Gutz, Daggett; Ron Winterton, Duchesne; Val Jones, Juab; Kay Blackwell and Rick Blackwell, Piute; Gordon Topham, Sevier; Derae Fillmore, Wayne; and Kenneth Bischoff, Weber. Most support Granato for economic reasons, namely because Granato won't renounce earmarks, and also because they perceive that Granato is more concerned with creating jobs rather than focusing upon ideology.
However, that so-called "ideology" is actually a return to the constitutional principles which promote more limited government. Boyd Matheson, communication director for Lee's campaign, said Lee was pleased with the continued outpouring of support from Utahns across the state. "While this poll demonstrates the strong base of support Mike has established over the course of the campaign, we have never been focused on poll numbers. Our focus from day one has been to get Mike's message of limited government to the people of Utah...This poll, like so many others, confirms that his message is ringing true and that the overwhelming majority of Utahns agree that it is time to reduce the size and cost of the federal government," Matheson said.
Granato's campaign manager, Marla Kennedy, interprets the results differently. Most notably, she cites this poll as evidence of declining support for Mike Lee, pointing out that Lee has dropped from 58 percent in June to 54 percent in August, and is now down to 53 percent. Kennedy thinks that Lee should be doing better in the polls considering his big fund-raising advantage; Lee collected $510,161 compared with Granato's $92,968 over the last quarter, and Lee still has more than $234,000 in the bank while Granato has about $36,000 left. So Kennedy concludes that voters are not repsonding to what she calls Mike Lee's "extreme, tea party rhetoric"
But that so-called "extreme tea party rhetoric" is resonating nationwide. The shot fired by Utah Republicans at the May 2010 state convention has reverberated around the country, with insurgents like Joe Miller prevailing in Alaska and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware. Sam Granato is undoubtedly a ""good guy", but is he the "right guy"? In this case, the "good guy" merely wants to tweak the existing system, which will NOT reduce our national debt and contract our annual deficits. The "right guy" wants to CHANGE the existing system so as to eliminate the annual deficits and contract the national debt.
The right guy is Mike Lee.