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Chaffetz sees handrails, meth and Romanians
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz tweeted throughout his three days on the U.S.-Mexican border in Arizona, a fact-finding trip for future hearings on border security.

He was with Border Patrol agents as they found 15 pounds of meth in a spare tire and 500 pounds of pot coming through a regulated port. He went out to where the big border fence became some small posts and a few strings of barbed wire and, at one point, where a staircase and a handrail leads from one side to the other.

He was there when agents detained nine Romanians.

But the thing that disturbed Chaffetz most was watching what he said was 60 elementary schoolchildren in Naco, Ariz., walk across the border after school to go home: "Those kids aren't tall enough to ride most things at Disneyland, let alone cross an international border without an adult."

A deeper shade of red • Utah is one of 10 states shifting most toward the Republican Party, according to a new analysis of presidential voting patterns by The Cook Political Report.

You read that right: Utah is getting more conservative.

It may have been the tea party influence or Mitt Romney's spot on the presidential ticket or frustration with President Barack Obama, but the state's voters backed Romney by 22 percentage points more than the nation as a whole. Utah is tied with Wyoming for the largest partisan vote index.

Utah's score is 2.24 percent higher than its previous mark. As a result, Utah comes in sixth in states trending toward the GOP, following Arkansas, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisiana.

The top five states trending toward the Democrats are Hawaii, Vermont, California, Maryland and Virginia.

We're here, we're proud, we want your money • Mormon Democrats officially launched a national group this week in the hope of making it easier for their compatriots to "come out" into the open. The LDS Democrats of America isn't just about breaking the link between Mormons and Republicans and giving liberal Mormons a place to feel welcome. They want to get involved in elections, too. The group plans to launch its own super PAC in the next few weeks with the aim of raising money for Democratic candidates "who will serve their communities well," said Rob Taber, the group's chairman.

So don't be surprised if the group hits you up for a donation at one of its planned get-togethers, cleverly dubbed family home evenings.

2014 watch • Apparently it's not too early to start the 2014 congressional campaign, even if Election Day is 578 days off.

Not only has Mia Love already called for a rematch with Rep. Jim Matheson, but two other candidates have filed papers with the Federal Election Commission.

Retired telecommunications executive Bob Fuehr plans to challenge Love for the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional District. Last year, Fuehr ran unsuccessfully in the 2nd Congressional District, now held by Rep. Chris Stewart. He's back and already has his campaign website up and running.

Democrat Peter Clemens, of North Ogden, has filed to take on Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, in the state's 1st Congressional District. Clemens, a doctor and a self-proclaimed "Mormocrat," unsuccessfully challenged state Sen. Allen Christensen in 2012.

Morning email • Snack on Political Cornflakes, our morning dish of news. Check politicalcornflakes.com for regular updates, join our mailing list by emailing cornflakes@sltrib.com, follow us on Twitter@SLTribPolitics.

Burr and Canham report from Washington, D.C. They can be reached at tburr@sltrib.com or mcanham@sltrib.com or via Twitter: @thomaswburr or @mattcanham.

Politics • A long walk home from school.
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