Democrats in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have launched a national organization to promote their political values. Leaders of LDS Democrats of America announced the development during a virtual press conference this morning .
On the heels of the 2012 Presidential election and the so-called “Mormon moment,” LDS Democrats are looking to extend their reach. Robert Taber directed the national Mormons for Obama Campaign in 2012. He’s now chair of the newly-minted LDS Democrats of America, an outgrowth of the LDS Democrats caucus in Utah.
“President Obama got about 20 or 21 percent of the Latter-day Saint vote nationwide, Taber says. "So there are more and more Latter-day Saints identifying as Democrats or supporting Democratic candidates and we’re here to help accelerate that.”
Taber says LDS church members have a long and rich tradition of engaging in progressive causes. But he says that tradition has faded as many church members have come to believe being Mormon and Republican are one in the same.
“By providing a home for Latter-day Saint Democrats everywhere where there previously hadn’t been one, we can get people involved and engaged in civic life and civic participation," Taber says.
Crystal Young-Otterstrom is Vice Chair of LDS Democrats of America and Chair of the Utah LDS Democrats, which is the largest caucus of within the state’s Democratic Party.
“The leaders of our church have repeatedly called on us to get involved in politics and civic life," Otterstrom says. "The popularity of the Utah compact on immigration reform both on Capitol Hill and the White House is a testament to the impact and power that we can have as we come together over the issues that confront us.”
Otterstrom says LDS Democrats of America will not get involved in nominating candidates. But will instead support candidates who’ve already received the party’s nod.
According to a Pew research poll released in January 2012, about 17 percent of Mormons nationwide identify as Democrats. In Utah, the number shrinks to 7 percent.