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Rolly: Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart making moves for governor?

By Paul Rolly

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Apr 23 2013 08:34 pm • Last Updated Jul 07 2013 11:35 pm

A number of lobbyists have received invites to bring their clients to lunch with Utah  House Speaker Becky Lockhart. The idea is to get to know her better and consider contributing to her Speaker’s Leadership PAC.

Because Lockhart firmly stated she will not seek a third term as speaker in 2014 and her re-election to her Provo House seat is secure, the calls raise speculation that she is laying groundwork for a run for governor in 2016.

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The calls have come from Ryan Sims, a former legislative intern to Sen. Curt Bramble, a close political ally of Lockhart. Sims also has worked in the Utah attorney general’s office and has assisted in several campaigns for Utah County Republicans.

A source close to Lockhart says there is less than a 50-50 chance she will run for governor, but that she has had discussions about doing so with supporters. The luncheons are an opportunity for the lobbyists’ clients to learn more about her positions on issues and to gauge the level of support she might have.

She has complete control over the Speaker’s Leadership PAC, which had a balance at the end of 2012 of about $50,000, and can use that fund in a campaign for governor if she chooses.

If she doesn’t run for governor, she can use the fund to help other Republican candidates.

The source said Lockhart may not even run for re-election to her seat in 2014, especially if she runs for governor two years later, because her votes in the Legislature may be seen as political posturing for the governor’s race.

That perception plagued former House Speaker Marty Stephens when he was running for governor from the speaker’s chair in 2004.

Local firm rakes in "Pollies" » Love Communications, a local advertising and public relations firm, did something no other Utah firm has ever done. It won 23 national political advertising awards at the annual meeting of the American Association of Political Consultants in Washington, D.C.

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What’s more remarkable is that many of the winning political advertisements were on behalf of Democrats. In Utah, no less.

The 23 "Pollie" awards included six gold, four silver, eight bronze and five honorable mention awards.

Most notably, the winners were for ads promoting the Utah lieutenant governor’s "get out the vote" campaign and for Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor candidate Ben McAdams, who won his race against a swell of Republican sweeps in most other races.

Only in Utah County » I mentioned in a February column a billboard on I-15 between Provo and Lehi that said: "Because your home teacher doesn’t practice law." The firm Dexter and Dexter was advertising its message that it can be as trusted as your LDS home teacher.

A new billboard just to the north of that one said: "Your home teacher may not practice law, but these visiting teachers do." It features a picture of two women, presumably lawyers in the advertised firm of Fillmore Spencer and, also, visiting teachers to women in their respective LDS wards.

Speaking of billboards » Billboards at various locations along I-15 between Provo and Salt Lake City say: "Fertilizer Happens." They are advertisements for Intermountain Farmers Association, or IFA.

Not great timing, considering last week’s deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant.

prolly @sltrib.com

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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