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Rolly: Insiders say Rob Bishop got too greedy

Published November 15, 2012 6:01 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

If Democrat Jim Matheson's slim lead in the 4th Congressional District withstands the counting of absentee and provisional ballots, and he remains the lone blue dog in Utah's vast sea of red, some Republican insiders are already blaming Rob Bishop.

They tell me that during the redistricting process last year, when the Republican-dominated Utah Legislature manipulated the congressional districts to make all four as red as possible, some strategists wanted to put a few liberal areas of Salt Lake County in Bishop's 1st Congressional District to make the 4th and 2nd districts even more Republican in order to finally defeat the six-term Democrat.

But Bishop, they say, would not relinquish any of his precious Republican votes, which resulted in more than a 70 percent advantage for Bishop over his Democratic opponent, Donna McAleer.

Republican Mia Love lost to Matheson by fewer than 3,000 votes on election night, although there are thousands of ballots yet to be counted.

Perfect timing • The Salt Lake Tribune ran a story in its Faith section Saturday about the controversy surrounding the declared miracle at the Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church when an icon of Jesus was found secreting oil two years ago.

The church's priest, Father Michael Kouremetis, and the Metropolitan Isaiah, based in Denver, declared the discovery a miracle. But a custodian at the church has since come forward and said he spilled oil while filling lamps, which could account for the situation.

Here is the rest of the story. The miracle of the oil, which the priest and metropolitan still insist is true and say it has actually healed parishioners, was discovered right at the time church members were vehemently protesting the church's decision to split the congregations of the Prophet Elias Church in Holladay and the Holy Trinity Church in downtown Salt Lake City into two parishes.

There was even talk of suing the church, and several hundred members stood in protest outside the Prophet Elias Church.

But the oil settled it.

At the time, Metropolitan Isaiah wrote to Father Kouremetis, "The Lord has answered our prayers asking him to resolve the confusing situation in the Salt Lake City area regarding the two parishes."

He added, "When icons exude tears … it is a sign of caution and problems. But when an icon exudes oil, this is a sign of healing and blessings."

Positive photos only • Kris Romeril, communication specialist for the grocery cooperative Associated Food Stores, believes that a Salt Lake Tribune story about Utah lawmakers considering doubling the state sales tax on food is way too negative for the public.

When asked if a Tribune photographer could take a picture of one of Associated's Utah stores for the story, the answer was no. Same for Target.

But Marsha Gilford, spokeswoman for the Salt Lake-based Smith's Food & Drug Stores, arranged for a photo while on a trip to Reno to attend business meetings. When told about the story, Gilford had no worries. "We want your readers to see people shopping at Smith's," she said.

Speaking of faith • The day before the Nov. 6 election last week, Republican Salt Lake County Mayor candidate Mark Crockett conducted a two-hour transition meeting with his supporters to discuss how the power would be shifted from a Democratic administration after Crockett won the election.

Oops.

The old-fashioned way • Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Cooke repeatedly tried to call Gov. Gary Herbert to concede on election night after it was apparent Herbert would win decisively.

But he couldn't get through.

He finally walked the block from the hotel where the Democrats had gathered to the hotel hosting the Republicans and conceded to Herbert in person.

prolly@sltrib.com