Essential Primer for Candidates in Utah


So – you’re considering running for office in Utah. Congratulations! (Or condolences, as the case may be.) In order to help you in your quest, I have compiled an all-important list if you are to be taken seriously as a candidate. In no particular order, here are the absolute essentials you must know:

*That the people who live here are Utahns, not Utahans. I don’t care what the dictionary says.
*How to pronounce Tooele, Hurricane, Hooper and Oquirrh.
*That we take our college football VERY seriously. U and Y are not just letters in the alphabet. And the “Holy War” is not referencing the middle east.
*What a caucus is and why all your friends want to go there
*That Fetch, Flip and Freak are acceptable swear words – but the other one is not.
*The difference between a “Steak House” and a “Stake House”
*That if you want to win, you do NOT campaign on Sundays, Monday nights or when the Y plays the U. In any sport.
*That you actually can buy liquor in this state. From a state-run liquor store. With 25 forms of identification.
*That Utah drivers have NO problem passing on the right.
*That we also forget how to drive in snow, even though it’s on our roads 6 months out of the year.
*That we can go either 50 or 80 in the fast lane and wonder what’s wrong with all the other drivers.
*You must know how to make funeral potatoes and green Jell-O with carrots.
*The Legend of Timpanogos.
*That being a 10-cow wife is a compliment.
*That “election party” means plenty of Coke, Diet Coke and BYU brownies. And red licorice if it’s Rob Bishop’s party. Or water if it’s Jason Chaffetz’ party. And you bring it.
*That your convention displays must be designed by a Relief Society president and must include red, white and blue floral arrangements.
*That you must throw approximately 250 pounds of taffy at each parade you attend
*That if your opponent’s name is Lehi, Nephi, Moroni, Joseph or Emma, you automatically lose 20 points.
*That Utah is the only state you can NOT mention religion in your speeches. We’re not the Bible belt.
*But you might be OK slipping in some Book of Mormon references if you don’t name your source.

Now you know how to run in Utah. You’re welcome.


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13 Responses to “Essential Primer for Candidates in Utah”

  1. Jerome Borden Says:

    Whoa, Nellie!!! Now I’ve got a homework assignment.

  2. Roger Scanland Says:

    (In regard to hint #2:) And Eureka! Don’t forget Eureka!

  3. Kyle Friant Says:

    “*That if you want to win, you do NOT campaign on Sundays, Monday nights or when the Y plays the U. In any sport.”
    That’s over, luckily.

  4. MW Burkett Says:

    I’m using this article as my preparation check list. Most are already checked off but I have a couple to work on so I’ll be good to go. Thanks, Holly!

  5. theSTARforum Says:


  6. JBT Says:

    Actually it is quite sad but true that the “sheeple” of Utah look for an LDS Republican Conservative first before any other qualifications such as intelligence, experience, grasp of the issues facing the state, willingness to help the citizens rather than just support corporations who fund their campaigns, etc.

    Some very bright and competent Democratic candidates lose to Republicans who turn out to be not so bright or competent because many of the voters in this state (especially in Utah County) don’t even look at the names on the ballot just the “R’s”.

    Article IV Paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution reads:

    “The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

    Too bad this is completely ignored in Utah. If anyone disagrees, simply count the “Mormon-speak” code words is Holly’s lame attempt at humor above.

  7. Pops Says:

    Sorry, I disagree and my code word count was zero. (“Flip” isn’t a code word. Seriously.)

    You started out well, but then you went too far. Individuals are free to use any criteria they wish to decide for whom they will cast their ballot. Article IV Paragraph 3 doesn’t apply to individuals. Individuals are not in a position to “require” any kind of test.

    Your “sheeple” accusation was off the mark as well. Perhaps you missed the Rex Rammell debacle in Idaho, where the citizens of Idaho handed him his head after he played the “I’m LDS” card. The winner by a large margin was Butch Otter, who happens to be Roman Catholic.

    Even though I’m conservative and LDS, I always subtract points from any candidate who plays the religion card either way, whether overtly or subliminally. Of course, the number of points for that infraction is less than the points I subtract from a candidate who supports gay marriage, abortion, or the welfare state. But if it’s a primary, I’ll campaign pretty hard for a candidate who sticks to the issues over a “wink, wink, nod, nod” candidate. And I’ll vote for a Democrat if they’re the better candidate and more closely match my values than the Republican, but that unfortunately doesn’t happen very often any more (see above regarding gay marriage, abortion, and the welfare state).

  8. JBT Says:

    Let me help you Pops with “Mormon speak” in Holly’s discourse. These are some of the many “code words” that Mormons use to announce their church membership to others.

    -Fetch, Flip and Freak are Mormon euphemisms for F***

    -“Stake House” is a reference to Mormon church building.

    -Not campaign on Mon. is a reference to Mormon Mon. home eve.

    -Funeral potatoes/Green jello are associated with Mormon Church.

    -Displays designed by a Relief Society president are OBVIOUS.

    -Lehi, Nephi, Moroni, Joseph or Emma are OBVIOUS.

    -Book of Mormon references are OBVIOUS.

    Candidates for the Utah Legislature and office of Governor have no power to permit gay marriage since it has been outlawed by an amendment to the Utah Constitution. They have no power over abortion which has been made legal by Roe v Wade. They have virtually no control over the government assistance provided by the Federal Government. Yet you make these things a litmus test for elected office in Utah.

    I don’t understand why you and other conservative Republicans dismiss a Democratic candidate for these state offices solely on the basis of national issues? For the most part Democrats in the state legislature are far more supportive of education and other issues important to Utah’s citizens than their conservative counterparts. Furthermore many Democratic candidates in this state are also LDS (yes you can be a Democrat and LDS at the same time) and share your views on abortion, gay marriage, gun control, etc. It is unfortunate that close minded voters don’t look past the “Democrat label” and take the time to find out more about these candidates who do share their views on hot button issues.

    Again, the “sheeple” look for the R when they vote, and not the qualifications of the candidate and that is why this is a one party state with no checks and balances in our state government.

  9. ERIC in Murray Says:

    JBT – YOu and Your ILK can Go to H-e-DOuble TOOTHPICKS

  10. ERIC in Murray Says:

    AND Another thing.. Id rather be a “SHEEPLE” than an OBAMAzombie! You are really PATHETIC

  11. Pops Says:

    Holly’s post was whimsical and someone took offense. How bizarre is that? Lighten up – there are a lot of intelligent and nice people around that belong to all religions and all political parties. Be one.

    “It is unfortunate that close minded [blog readers] don’t look past the “[Mormon/conservative/Republican] label” and take the time to find out more about these [people] who do share their views on hot button issues.”

  12. Pops Says:

    Interesting comment by Jim Matheson on the occasion of his switch to the Fourth District race:

    “I think Utah voters look at things in a more independent way,” he said. “They just don’t blindly follow some party label.”

    Maybe JBT and Jim should get together and compare notes.

  13. Drew Gilliland Says:

    While there is some truth to the “Utahisms” of being (or trying to be) in the public spotlight, it does seem we no longer care as much for the humor as we do for the label (i.e. Republican v. Democrat). I credit the over saturation of these once laughable “Utahisms” to the now dead Mormon Movie genre. For those who saw any of those movies, it is hard to laugh anymore at the flip using green jello culture of Utah without having flashbacks to yet another bad movie.

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