Cooke stirs up governor's race with new platform

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Democratic candidate for governor is behind in the polls and took a risk with his base this week. But will his new strategy work in the Gary Herbert-Peter Cooke matchup??

Some people think that Democrat Peter Cooke took quite the risk when he publicly took a stand against gay marriage, civil unions and abortion on Monday. But as the race for governor begins to get heated, Cooke is standing firmly on his strategy.

"I think what's motivating the governor is what I call grandstanding," said Cooke of his opponent, "and stirring up the people of Utah."

But Cooke's campaign and new stance seems to have stirred up a few of his more left-leaning supporters.

Several comments were made on social media of Cooke's policies such as: "Shouldn't he represent his supporters and not his own views?" And: "Why was Cooke endorsed by Equality Utah?"

State Rep. Brian Doughty, D-Salt Lake, is another puzzled Cooke supporter. "To call a news conference and actually alienate part of your base, that didn't make sense to me," he said.


For Cooke, it was a painful news conference. But he wanted to make it clear where he stands.

"I am so hurt today if I have hurt anybody's feelings because that's exactly what I don't want to do," Cooke said.

But as a political strategy, political science professor Tim Chambless says Cooke's news conference makes sense, appealing to a wider base of more conservative independents would obviously bring more votes.

"Politics is timing," Chambless said. "And better to get the personal views out many weeks before the election than say just before."

Doughty thinks that Cooke could still win many Democratic voters by taking a strong stance on other important state issues.

"There's time that he can reach out and talk about the land issues and education, and hopefully build a bridge," he said.

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Richard Piatt


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