Utah GOP tracking Dem chair. Inside a Huntsman fund-raiser. Utahns against the tea party.
Happy Wednesday from a slightly shaken Washington. Yesterday's 5.9 magnitude earthquake sparked evacuations of congressional buildings and offices yesterday, though no injuries amongst the Utahns working here were reported. Yours truly, at his office in the National Press Building, had no idea that he could make it down nine flights of stairs so fast. The Post has a good wrap-up: [WaPost] A little localized flavor: [Trib].
-> Interesting tidbit: The Senate held a pro-forma session near Union Station after being evacuated from the Capitol, with the presiding officer at a folding chair with a Senate seal pinned to the wall. From the pool report: "The session lasted 22 seconds, during which time Sen. Coons gaveled it in, the legislative clerk read the communication from President Pro Tem Daniel K. Inouye designating Sen. Coons the presiding officer, and Sen. Coons then read the next order of business: 'Under the previous order, the Senate stands in recess until 11:15 a.m. on Friday.'"
Topping the news: Utah Republican Chairman Thomas Wright acknowledges the party hired an operative to follow Democratic Chairman Jim Dabakis on his swing through southern Utah to record his every word. Wright and other Republicans are upset about what they call Dabakis' "gotcha" style of politics. [Trib]
-> Robert Gehrke gets a peek inside a Jon Huntsman fund-raiser in Utah and captures this line: "You stand up on the stage in the debate like we did the other night and [look] around and say, 'Whoa, where'd these folks come from? What an interesting assortment of characters!'" [Trib]
-> The tea party is opposed by a majority of Utah voters for the first time, according to a new Tribune poll. But a majority of Republicans still back the tea party.
-> Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid promises a "special" announcement during an appearance Sept. 1 at Southern Utah University. [Trib]
-> A new campaign to unite religious non-believers pops up in the form of a Salt Lake City billboard. [Trib]
Where are they?
In other news: Mercury contamination in three more waterways prompts new fish consumption advisories. [Trib]
-> A former Beaver area ski-resort promoter is on his way to prison. [Trib]
-> Twenty-five years after the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73, Millcreek resident Javaid Majid is still dealing with haunting memories of the violent episode and fighting for a piece of the settlement. [Trib]
-> Opening day for students at Horizon Elementary School in Murray is different than in a lot of classrooms. It is one of 57 Utah schools that have a dual-immersion approach to foreign language instruction. [Trib]
-> Motorists in Utah's capital city who leave their vehicle idling for more than two minutes could soon face a fine. [DNews]
-> AG Mark Shurtleff is applauding the Obama administration's new policy on deportation. [DNews]
-> The gotcha politics bugs Jordan Garn and he will turn this car around if you don't settle down. [UtahPolicy]
-> Trouble continues at the DABC and interim director Francine Giani promises a thorough probe. [ABC4]
-> Pat Bagley frames the two-party system in Utah. [Trib]
-> Prosecutors will not file charges against a Salt Lake City police officer they determined was unjustified in shooting a car thief. [Trib]
-> A conservative commentator rails on Utah's health exchange. [Trib]
-> Ogden's mayoral race is heating up as the primary election nears. [Trib]
-> Paul Rolly notes upset parents at West High School over a shakeup and also questions whether there were some indirect taxpayer subsidies of last weekend's "Take back Utah" rally. [Trib]
-> A former Logan mayor paid for a renovation of the City Council chambers. [HeraldJournal]
2012 watch: Obama finds himself in a statistical dead heat with Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul and Rick Perry. [CBSNews]
-> Still not endorsing, former Florida governor Jeb Bush says he likes Huntsman "a lot." [SunshineStateNews]
-> Romney's former firm, Bain Capital, is again in the news, though the company woud rather keep a low profile. [Globe]
-> Romney will offer his jobs plan after Labor Day. [Globe]
-> With Tim Pawlenty out of the race, Minnesota's Vin Weber is now backing Romney. [StarTrib]
-> A Romney adviser has also recently advised a group labeled by the State Department as a terrorist group. [Salon]
-> Hatch says Romney can "pull us out of this mess." [ParkRecord]
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-- Thomas Burr
with editor Dan Harrie
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