by Tom HARALDSEN
BOUNTIFUL—It was the tale of two different campaign strategies. For Democrats Jenny Wilson and Shireen Ghorbani, they took their messages directly to voters in neighborhoods around Bountiful on Monday night. Later that evening, their Republican opponents held an event in the basement of the Bountiful City Library.
Wilson, who is challenging Mitt Romney for the U.S. Senate seat soon to be vacated by Orrin Hatch, and Ghorbani, facing incumbent Rep. Chris Stewart for the U.S. House seat in District 2, teamed with volunteers to knock on around 400 doors in Bountiful. They gathered with those volunteers in Bountiful City Park to discuss their messages.
“We want to give voters a chance to share their thoughts and values,” Wilson said. “This is a ‘people campaign’ for both of us, and we want to hear directly from voters about issues that matter the most to them. We had hoped to have more civic engagement with our opponents. Apparently they have the time to get together but don’t have time to spend with us.”
Both Wilson and Ghorbani have expressed frustration with their inability to schedule debates with their opponents. With the exception of the single debates scheduled by the Utah Debate Commission – Stewart and Ghorbani have held theirs and Wilson and Romney will debate on Oct. 9 in Cedar City (telecast statewide) – the opponents are not scheduled to meet in any combined public forum. Romney and Stewart have reportedly refused multiple forums with their Democratic opponents.
“Jenny and I both have a message that connects with Utah voters,” Ghorbani said. “They are concerned as we both are about health care, education, and having air we can breathe.”
Wilson said that through her grassroots campaign of knocking on doors and visiting other Utahns, she’s met people “every day who are living paycheck-to-paycheck and feel that the recent GOP tax cuts for the wealthy, attempts to repeal the ACA, and lack of Republican support for ballot initiatives like Propositions 2 and 3 ignore the specific needs and requests of Utahns.”
“Clearly they are trying to play it safe in a small setting,” Wilson added about the Romney-Stewart event. “Utah voters are not looking for safe. They are interested in detailed solutions and seeking engagement and energy from candidates, which are the hallmarks of Shireen and my campaigns.”
“Just seven weeks away from Election Day, it’s far more valuable to voters and to our democracy to see opposing candidates on stage discussing their different ideas for how we move forward together in this country,” Ghorbani said.