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  Bungled campaign? GOP sharks circling Herbert [UT-Gov]
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Last Editedparticleman  Oct 07, 2010 12:54pm
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AuthorRobert Gehrke
MediaNewspaper - Salt Lake Tribune
News DateThursday, October 7, 2010 06:50:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionThere’s blood in the water.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s campaign has so bungled its reaction to criticism from Democrat Peter Corroon that a handful of Republican lawmakers say Herbert has assured he will face a GOP challenge in 2012, assuming he beats Corroon in November.

A half-dozen GOP lawmakers, all speaking on condition of anonymity so as not to alienate their party’s sitting governor, expressed disbelief and frustration at how Herbert has dealt with the Corroon challenge.

“I think he’ll have a very legitimate challenger, if not challengers. I think that is becoming more and more the conventional wisdom,”

Herbert has spent the past several weeks explaining his actions as governor, defending himself from insinuations by the Corroon campaign that big donors to Herbert’s campaign got special access, won contracts and were given other state perks.

That includes a meltdown at a news conference that Herbert called, where it was revealed that the state paid $13 million to a losing bidder for the $1.1 billion Interstate 15 reconstruction project to settle claims that the results were skewed in favor of a Herbert donor.

When Herbert inherited the Governor’s Office last year after then Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. was nominated to become ambassador to China, some prominent Republicans took measure of Gary Herbert, with a handful contemplating a run against the suddenly elevated lieutenant governor. But Herbert solidified his standing and, one by one, each potential challenger bowed out of the race.

With Herbert having to stand for re-election in 2012 if he wins in November, some may now be reconsidering their options, the lawmakers who talked to The Tribune said. The potential challengers most often named are House Speaker David Clark and U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Chaffetz, who has also had his name floated as a potential challenger to U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, said Wednesday that it is flattering to be mentioned.
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