Utah Democrats elected former Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon as their new party chair over the weekend. Both Corroon and his opponent Richard Davis emphasized the need to recruit more Democrats outside of Salt Lake valley.
BYU political science professor Richard Davis was chair of the Democratic Party in conservative stronghold Utah County for four years.
“When I was chair, tens of thousands of Utah County voters voted for Democrats. Why? Because they realize that those Democratic candidates reflected their values,” Davis said. “I believe most Utah voters are really Democrats, but now they think they are Republicans. We need to show them who Democrats are, and that we share their values.”
“We are the party that stands for the people of Utah,” Peter Corroon said. “My plan is a 29 county plan. I want to establish greater influence in the state of Utah. I want each county to have the resources you need to be an effective Democratic county party.”
Corroon told KUER that former chair Jim Dabakis did a good job raising money, but the party faces significant challenges. In particular, he said there are fewer Democrats in the state legislature than there have been in many years.
“We can pat ourselves on the back here and say great job within Salt Lake County, but until we hit the rural areas and the areas outside of the Salt Lake Valley, we’re not going to be successful,” Corroon said. He told KUER the strategy now is to focus on bread and butter issues that matter to a majority of Utahns like education, jobs, and healthcare.