Democratic candidate Peter Corroon has selected Sheryl Allen, a moderate Republican, to be his running mate. (http://www.sltrib.com/ci_15016836)
Utah has long been a one-party state. Stick the letter R in front of your name and you're probably going to win an election in Utah. However, this year makes the traditional wisdom - of red beats blue - a truism. This year a Republican is guaranteed to be a winner in the Gubernatorial race. Utah politics has become so skewed to the right that there is no party of the left. This gubernatorial election is far right versus center right. The "Democratic" candidate is running on a platform of helping small business owners, cutting taxes and practicing fiscal responsibility. In fact the Democrat, Corroon may be a better fiscal conservative than his Republican adversary: http://www.usnews.com/blogs/peter-roff/2010/04/06/tax-hikes-hurt-republicans--just-ask-utah-governor-gary-herbert.html
While this does signal that Utah's political system is severely imbalanced, it also has a surprising ray of sunshine. If you're a fan of bipartisanship and pragmatic politicians than you've got the best option Utah has ever created. You can vote for a literally bipartisan ticket and rest assured that Corroon is going to tow the moderate line, because if he strays an inch from the careful middle line he's walking Utah's overwhelmingly conservative majority will throw him out of office. When Corroon promises responsibility in government, it's a promise you can expect him to keep.
However, the real significance of Corroon's running mate Sheryl Allen may not be that of a Utah Democrat is trying to curry favor with conservatives - Jim Matheson has been demonstrating this trend for years. What may be truly significant is that Allen is a former school teacher and expert in education policy. Corroon picked the perfect advisor to help him improve Utah's education system - which is a priority of his campaign. If there is one area where Utah is falling behind it is in the education of our children. Gary Herbert and the Republican controlled state legislature did not spare schools when they slashed Utah's budget. When asked what issue she wants to champion Allen mentioned Davis school District which is facing a budget reduction of $31 million this year.
As the workforce becomes more globalized and the job market increasingly competitive the focus of Corroon's campaign is in the right place. Educating our children is the most effective way to ensure Utah's future economic prosperity and should never be sacrificed for political or fiscal expediency. Corroon is much more likely to make the tough choices which will prioritize education and see us through the economic downturn.