Former Vermont Governor and presidential hopeful Howard Dean will be in Utah today hoping to motivate Democrats more than a year ahead of midterm elections. KUER’s Terry Gildea reports.
Dean served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 2005 to 2009. His visit to Utah on Monday isn’t under the official banner of the party, but he does hope to get grassroots volunteers excited about recruiting more Democratic voters in a state many believe to be held strongly by Republicans.
"This is really sort of an off-shoot of the fifty state strategy. I don’t think you ought to leave any state out of the equation. So states we can win sooner rather later or later rather than sooner but we need to be prepared," said Dean.
Only about 25 percent of Utah residents vote as Democrats and Republicans hold nearly every state-wide office. Still, Dean is not discouraged. He says he admires efforts by Utah’s Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis to reach out to LDS voters on issues important to them.
Dean also has a personal connection to Utah. Former Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon is his first cousin. Dean wants to see more candidates like Corroon come forward to run.
"You do not have to pretend you’re a Republican to run as a Democrat. You don’t have to be against things that Democrats are traditionally for. You do have to get to know people. And you do have to take time to listen people. And when you do that, people measure you has a human being. And once people start measuring you as a human being, then you’ve got a chance," said Dean.
Dean will attend a rally in Taylorsville on the campus of Salt Lake Community College Monday afternoon and will be in Ogden that evening to greet supporters.