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Politics Heat Up as Election Day Nears

Politics Heat Up as Election Day Nears

Posted - Oct. 19, 2004 at 5:36 p.m.



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Tonya Papanikolas ReportingThe gay marriage amendment is one of the hot election issues creating a very intense political environment. With people expressing strong opinions on both sides of the issues, some feel it's getting to the point of "dirty politics."

KSL Talk Radio host Doug Wright is used to hearing his listeners' political opinions. But recently he says those opinions have intensified.

Doug Wright, KSL Radio Host: “I think the passion of it has gone up; mean-spiritedness of it has gone up; the nastiness of it has certainly gone up this time I think."

Because of its wording, Wright has spoken out against the gay marriage amendment. But now he's receiving letters accusing him of "promoting and encouraging the "gay agenda." And a caller had more words for Wright....

Caller: "I'm not listening any more.”

Caller: “He's against families, he's against sexual morality, he's not worth listening to."

Caller: "That is just absolutely outrageous, and that's the kind of vitriolic level we've reached now on some of these debates and some of these campaigns."

Political pollster Dan Jones agrees this campaign season is the most intense he's seen in 40 years.

Dan Jones, Political Pollster: "I believe Iraq is driving this election at the national level. But the marriage amendment is driving the issue here in Utah."

Earlier this month many signs promoting the gay marriage amendment were vandalized. Other races and candidates are facing similar problems. This weekend vandals smashed a window at the Jon Huntsman campaign headquarters. And democrats have faced negativity too.

Mike Zuhl, Scott Matheson's Campaign Manager: “The Mathesons have had their own personal home egged, they’ve had eggs thrown at it.”

Dan Jones says he's also seen more attack ads from candidates this year.

Now the big question is, why are the races so intense this year? There could be a number of reason -- some of the issues get into moral and religious beliefs, the situation in Salt Lake County has elevated the level of dialogue and concern, and many people feel there's a lot at stake this year from the local level up to the national level.

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