Log Cabin Republicans endorse Herbert for governor

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Among the first political endorsements for Gov. Gary Herbert is a group that advocates federalism, limited government and gay rights.

It isn't too much of a shock that the Log Cabin Republicans would endorse Herbert for governor; fiscal responsibility and limited government two of the group's priorities. President Melvin Nimer says that trumps the gay rights issues his group supports.

"Right now, with the economy the way it is, with what's happening in the country, I think those are far more important issues than just specifically concentrating on gay issues," Nimer says.

The governor is also willing to listen to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender point of view -- a big deal, Nimer says.

While it doesn't change the administration's view on things like gay marriage, Lt. Gov. Greg Bell says the endorsement does send message of inclusiveness.

"Gays and lesbians are part of our community. They're citizens of our state and nation, and we want to make sure their contribution is honored, that they're respected as people," Bell says.

Like Peter Corroon's announcement of Republican running mate Sheryl Allen Monday, it appears both candidates are willing to risk to widen their base.

"The people of Utah are moderates, and they want bipartisan government. They want people working together, irrespective of political parties," Corroon says.

The Hinckley Institute of Politics' Kirk Jowers says the risk is worth taking at this point, since neither candidate faces a serious challenge at this weekend's conventions.

"[It] probably gives them a little more flexibility to try these more centrist activities than if they had someone coming at them from either the right or the left," Jowers says.

In terms of what it means in the big picture, endorsements are generally of limited value, but a string of endorsements can make a difference.

E-mail: rpiatt@ksl.com

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