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SALT LAKE CITY — 2012 will be remembered as a major political year for a few of reasons: First, because of the presidential election and second, because of unfinished "policy challenges" going into the New Year.
While Utah's Legislature debated redistricting, a list of Republican presidential hopefuls began a series of debates. Most of them got a little testy.
"I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate like this," said former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich in an early presidential debate.
During the sometimes nasty primary-caucus season, Mitt Romney's eventual nomination win wasn't entirely obvious until relatively late in the process. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman had high hopes, but he dropped out of the race in late January.
By late August, it was clear that Mitt Romney would be the GOP's choice for President. His wife Ann became a major asset by connecting with voters in a way Mitt didn't.
Utah Congressional candidate Mia Love emerged in Tampa as a conservative superstar.
Well I have to feed off the energy, and Utah was right there. They're the people I represent.
"Well I have to feed off the energy, and Utah was right there," Love said. "They're the people I represent."
Democrats had an equal amount of energy with President Bill Clinton stealing the show the night before the President's speech.
"But are you better off now than when he took office," Clinton said to a cheering crowd.
Pressure mounted during a series of debates starting in September. Mitt Romney shined and the President faltered in their first debate in Denver. It was more of an even match after that, and it became clear it would be a close election.
At the same time, there were close races in Utah as well, most notably in the 4th congressional district. Democrat Jim Matheson squeaked out a victory against Republican Mia Love, amid negative ads paid for with outside money.
It was also a showdown for Salt Lake county mayor with Democrat Ben McAdams winning over Republican Mark Crockett. Other races went predictably to Republicans.
Democrats are going into the New Year taking comfort in the president's re-election, while Republicans are still wounded over Mitt Romney's defeat.
After the election, and now into next year, the talk is all about the fiscal cliff and guns. They're two tough topics demanding attention now and as 2012 comes to an end, people are becoming increasingly aware of Congress' shortcomings when it comes to both those issues.