Dunn Will Not Seek Re-election as State Party Chairman

Dunn Will Not Seek Re-election as State Party Chairman

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Donald Dunn has announced he will not seek re-election as chairman of the Utah Democratic Party.

Dunn will leave the post to become president of Vigilant, a St. Louis-based company specializing in lobbying state and local governments, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.

He also will also be married in June to Salt Lake County Democratic Party Chairwoman Nichole Adams.

"It really is just a great opportunity for me, with this job opportunity and timing in my life and getting married in June," Dunn said. "That's really kind of what the decision was based on and it's a time where things are going well with the party."

Dunn said he worked hard to help nurture the county parties, bulk up e-mail lists and cultivate small-dollar donors.

He will continue to serve as chairman until the party elects a new leader May 7.

Dunn was a White House staffer under former President Clinton. He unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Chris Cannon in 2000 and lost a Democratic congressional primary in 2002.

In 2003, he defeated three-term state party Chairwoman Meg Holbrook.

Pat Shea, a former director of the Bureau of Land Management during the Clinton administration and a Democratic candidate for governor and Senate, said Dunn modernized the party's operations, using direct mail, telephone banks and databases.

"In net, he was very good and put energy into the party that really needed it," said Shea.

But Shea said Dunn was "quick to be in the public eye," which can rub some the wrong way, and he was unable to get Democratic candidates unified in their message.

"There was a cacophony rather than a symphony," Shea said.

Dunn has been criticized recently for his association with Truth In Politics, a political action committee that spent more than $100,000 sending mailers to Salt Lake County voters, alleging corruption in county government and the Legislature. Dunn acknowledged selling a mailing list to the group and that the group's senior adviser also did work for the party.

State Sen. Al Mansell, R-Sandy, who has asked the Utah attorney general to investigate the group, said if Dunn's involvement in the group didn't prompt him to quit, "it should have."

Dunn said the furor over the PAC didn't contribute to his decision to leave the state party.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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