Republicans celebrate victories and accept defeats

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Nationally the Republicans may find themselves in the minority, but locally they've still retained their stronghold. Utah Republicans have reason to celebrate today. Most incumbents won with a large margin.

At Republican headquarters last night, many people obviously were not happy with results of the presidential race. In fact, some people were outright depressed at Barack Obama's victory.

Gov. Jon Huntsman calls Obama's victory historic and a big step for the country. But he also says it means the Republican message needs some work. "I think we're going to have to take a look at where it is, what needs to be done to connect with people on the issues that are important and retool it as we move into the future," he said.

But Utah's governor, attorney general, and treasurer-elect -- all Republicans -- were re-elected by wide margins. And with the exception of House Speaker Greg Curtis losing his seat, there really was no shakeup in the Legislature. The closeness of some of those races is notable, but the makeup of state government hasn't really changed much.

After watching John McCain give his concession speech, Gov. Huntsman said there is a lot to be thankful for. He is looking for a strong commitment to education and ongoing economic development.

"It really is about the jobs, because without jobs and generating revenue, you can't do anything. And then it's about teachers, getting them the compensation they deserve. And we're getting close to the national average, and we're gonna get there," he said.

Republicans are also vowing to work with the Democratic administration that is coming up. Sen. Bob Bennett, however, has a warning for President-elect Barrack Obama. He said, "Be smart, try to govern from the middle, and you can establish an administration that can last. Make the mistake Bill Clinton made in '92 after he won and had a Congress with him. When he tried to move dramatically to the left, particularly on health care, he ended up having a disastrous first two years and seeing Republicans come back very strongly in election."

Sen. Orrin Hatch says he's concerned about getting bills through Congress with democrats in control of the House, the Senate and the White House. "Obama; we'll just have to wait and see. Nobody knows him well enough to determine whether he'll be somebody you can work with or not," he said.

So there are some defeats for Republicans, but also some very bright spots.

For KSL's complete coverage on the 2008 election, click the related link to the right of the story.


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Richard Piatt and Randall Jeppesen


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