Utah Democrats hold annual convention

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MURRAY -- Utah Democrats re-elected Wayne Holland as chairman at their party's annual convention Saturday, giving him 87 percent of the vote.

That move comes as Democrats look ahead to what they believe could be their best shot in years at winning a statewide office in 2010.

House Minority Leader David Litvack said, "I've been an elected official for almost 10 years now, and I've never seen the type of energy, the type of hope we have as a party."

Democrats hold seats as Salt Lake County and City mayor. President Obama won Salt Lake County in 2008, and the party believes momentum is on their side, even in traditionally Republican Utah.

Salt Lake County Councilman Joe Hatch thinks the time is ripe for Democratic heavyweights to make a run for governor and U.S. senator, both currently in GOP hands. "I'm really hopeful that Mayor Peter Corroon would run for governor. I think that would be fantastic. I think Sam is going to be a great candidate. I also hope Jim Matheson may consider that," he said.

Matheson, who left the convention early for his son's baseball game, hasn't revealed his plans.

Corroon is also staying tight-lipped. "Will I run for governor? It's not something I've considered. Never say never, I certainly will look at all possibilities in the future, but I still want to make sure I'm doing a good job for Salt Lake County," he said.

In the race for party chair, Salt Lake progressive Jeff Bell challenged incumbent Wayne Holland. Bell argued the party needs to improve its use of the Internet and targeted social media, and not be satisfied in picking up just two seats in the Legislature like in 2008.

"The world of politics is making a massive change. There's a lot of people, a lot of the younger people in the party that really, really want to see the party change with it," Bell said,

Holland focused on positive things that are happening within the party and the state. "The important number is democratic performance in this state now ranks third highest in the United States for us moving in the right direction," he said.

In order to have enough time and to raise enough money, Democrats believe they'll need their major candidates to decide whether they're going to run for those two big seats by the end of the summer.

E-mail: jdaley@ksl.com

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