Cook Political Report's Jennifer Duffy, one of the smartest political campaign handicappers on the whole blasted planet, is calling the Utah Governor's race for Gov. Gary Herbert.
Duffy Tweeted this afternoon that she was moving the Utah special election from the "Likely Republican" column to the "Solid Republican" column.
"Boring, esp. for a special" election, she wrote. "But this race may be a practice run for 2012 when the seat is up again."
Herbert and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon are vying to complete the final two years of former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s term. Huntsman became ambassador to China about a year ago. The seat will be on the ballot again in its normal cycle in 2012.
There is little doubt that Corroon is one of the strongest gubernatorial candidates that Democrats have nominated in recent years. Still, it's a tough year for Democrats running in most states, much less a Republican bastion like Utah. It's not surprising that Herbert maintains a very comfortable lead in the polls. According to the Pollster.com trend line,Herbert has a 61-percent to 27-percent advantage over the Democrat.The gap is likely to close some, but not enough to put the race within Corroon's reach.
Robert GehrkeTwitter: @RobertGehrke