This last session, Speaker of the Utah House Marty Stevens closely aligned himself with the most controversial bill of the session. You remember, the one requiring that Credit Unions be treated the same as banks when it comes to taxes. The question for watchers of Utah politics is "why?" Sure, Marty is a banker and perhaps it was inevitable that he'd be associated with the bill. Maybe his employer put the screws to him and told him he'd better come through if he wants to continue to justify the long hours away from the job. Whatever the reason, the end result is that one of the people who everyone thought was interested in making a shot at the Governor's Mansion is now wounded. This will be an albatross around his neck next year during the campaign.
As long as we're on the subject, some long time Republicans are making noises that they can't support Leavitt for a fourth term. Of course, these long time Republicans are also some of the same ones who want to run themselves. Personally, I don't see Leavitt running again. There are some important issues that need to be addressed in Utah (like education) and a first term Governor is more likely to have the cooperation of the legislature and public when it comes to solving them. Leavitt would have to expend a lot of political capital and that's something he's not shown himself willing to do. Beside, his administration is tired and moribund. Their chief concern at this point is circling the wagons and protecting the administration from any embarassment. From what I know of Leavitt, he's smart enough to see this himself and realize its time to do something else.