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"When the tea party was in its heyday, even the more moderate Republicans were forced into a position of ideology because they were worrying about being attacked from the right."
Newly elected House Democratic leader Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, also expresses optimism about the ideological bent of the incoming group.
Republicans’ advantage grows
New GOP majorities in the Utah Legislature are 61-14 in the House and 24-5 in the Senate. The Legislature will be 82.6 percent GOP overall, the second-most-Republican in the past 80 years. Also, 25 of the 104 lawmakers will be new. Only two of the newcomers are Democrats.
"I am hopeful for a more moderate Legislature," she says, attributing the change to the Hatch effect at GOP caucuses. "The base participating was broader and not just based on political ideology that was outside the bell curve."
Amid all the changes, Grover — the co-founder of the Patrick Henry Caucus — says he, at least, "cannot imagine the Legislature being more conservative" than in the past. "I’m not sure there are any firebrands out there."
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