Leavitt EPA Nomination Opens 2004 Governor's Race

Leavitt EPA Nomination Opens 2004 Governor's Race

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(KSL News) So if Governor Leavitt goes to the EPA and Lt. Governor Olene Walker finishes the rest of his term, what does it all mean to the election in 2004?

Pollster Dan Jones thinks it'll be a wide open race for the Governor's office.

"I think it's going to be one of the most exciting gubernatorial races since 1960," Jones says.

Of course, Olene Walker could decide to run for the office as an incumbent. But who else might have eyes on the Governor's job?

On the Republican side, the major players are expected to be House Speaker Marty Stephens, former Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr., former House Speaker Nolan Karras, medical supply executive Fred Lampropoulos, and former Congressman Jim Hansen.

On the Democratic side, University of Utah law school dean Scott Matheson Jr. has announced his candidacy, and former Congressman Bill Orton has hinted at a possible run.

Matheson Jr. says Governor Leavitt's decision doesn't impact his plans.

"I'm running for governor and I'm not really running against any individual. I'm running for the office. I have a lot of respect for that office and it's a great opportunity to serve the citizens of Utah," he says.

For an in depth look at Utah's changing political landscape and the men and women who'll help shape it, check out this morning's edition of the Deseret Morning News.

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