Paul Rolly: Carl Wimmer finding peace after combat politics

By PAUL ROLLY

The Salt Lake Tribune

Published: March 31, 2014 09:36PM
Updated: April 1, 2014 05:55PM
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Paul Rolly

Former state legislator and congressional hopeful Carl Wimmer recently posted an interesting bit of enlightenment on his Facebook page.

Wimmer was a highly partisan, no-compromise conservative lawmaker who was quick to lash out at his political foes and, in 2012, engaged in a fierce battle for the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional District.

He lost at the GOP convention to Mia Love and later sent an email to former House colleague Steve Sandstrom criticizing him for supporting Love at the gathering.

He then thought he had been hired to be the political director of the Nevada Republican Party, only to learn that was not true. So he held a news conference to castigate the Nevada GOP.

Afterward, Wimmer changed.

He took a job as a resource cop at Gunnison High and moved to Sanpete County. He left the LDS Church, became an evangelical Christian and is studying to become a minister.

He wrote March 21 on Facebook: “Two years ago at this time I hadn’t seen my wife or kids for weeks, and I wouldn’t as I scrambled to gain support for my run for Congress. This Saturday I’m going to Richfield to watch my daughter’s little league all-star basketball team play a three-game tournament — something I would have sacrificed when chasing dreams instead of being a dad and husband. I’m grateful to God for showing me the right priorities at this time of my life.”

His epiphany touched me. I knew him when he was a confrontational and (as I perceived) somewhat-paranoid politician.

Now he seems to love everyone.

I think he even loves me.

Salt Lake City milestone •East High celebrated its 100th anniversary Thursday.

Inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame were former Utah first lady Norma Matheson, former Congressman Merrill Cook, theater community leader Pat Davis and special-education advocate Carmen Pingree.

Longtime journalist and University of Utah instructor Don Gale received his East High diploma — 65 years after dropping out to attend the U. and 30 years after earning his doctorate.

PerhapsEast’s most-celebrated graduating class was in 1951. Members included former U.S. Sens. Jake Garn and Bob Bennett, former Congressman Jim Hansen, the late Utah Supreme Court Justice Dan Stewart, former Dixie College President Doug Alder, former Salt Lake County Commissioner John Preston Creer, and first counselor in the LDS Church’s governing First Presidency, Henry Eyring.

Speaking of Merrill Cook • Utah political history was made Thursday, March 20, at 5:01 p.m., when, without being tied up at home, serial political candidate Cook let a filing deadline pass without showing up at one of the filing offices.

“For this,” a proud Cook told me, “I think some kind of congrats for me are in order from you.”

That’s probably because I have had great fun at Cook’s expense poking fun at all his candidacies (a total of 12) through the years.

I will concede, he demonstrated unusual restraint this year. He has been a candidate for something just about every election year — from school board to mayor to governor to Congress to county commissioner — and won twice in the 2nd Congressional District.

prolly@sltrib.com