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Andrew Adams, KSL NewsradioUtah's $3.5-million investment in a full, February 5 primary appears to be paying dividends. More presidential candidates are visiting the beehive state than ever before. But how long will it last?
From the beginning there were the skeptics, who said things like, "I really think it's a big waste of our money," and, "I think it's kind of a waste. I think we'll attract wannabes and not the real players."
But Mitt Romney's already gone to the well multiple times. He's even stumped in St. George.
"Boy, I can't think about anything other than being successful," he said on February 21.
Then plodded along McCain, Giuliani, Edwards, Richardson, Dodd, and Barack Obama.
Obama comes to town August 5. Misty Fowler, of the group Utah for Obama, said, "It's really nice to see everyone's paying attention to us, because that means our issues matter, too."
Fowler campaigns for Obama in Utah.
"As far as I know this is the most we've seen in about 40 years for Democratic candidates here in Utah," she said.
Lisa Roskelley, spokesperson for Governor Jon Huntsman, said, "This really has been unprecedented exposure for Utah."
Roskelley says it looks like it was worth it.
"To gain this sort of exposure and have this sort of access to the caliber of candidates we've had has really been unprecedented, and I don't think it would have been possible without the Western States Primary."
Misty Fowler agreed, "I think that has a lot to do with it."
But Fowler also believes more candidates are coming to Utah because they are trying to make this a 50-state campaign. A local fundraiser for Hillary Clinton tells KSL, sure, the primary has boosted Utah's exposure, even to Democrats. But he questions whether the major candidates will really pay much attention to Utah when the primary date approaches and votes are on the line.