Utah 2nd District
Demographically, Utah is an urban state. Geographically, it is not just rural but, over most of its acreage, scarcely inhabited. Three-quarters of its people live in the Wasatch Front, from Ogden south through Salt Lake City to Provo, between the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake and the Wasatch Mountains. The scenery here has grandeur but is surpassed by the landscape of much of southern Utah, most of it preserved in five national parks, five national monuments and a national recreation area. The terrain of southern Utah ranges from the soaring cliffs of Zion National Park to the popsicle-like outcroppings of Bryce Canyon National Park to the red-walled river cuts of Canyonlands National Park to the surreal moonscape of Arches National Park. Monument Valley, on Navajo land in far southeastern Utah, has become familiar to Americans as the site of countless car commercials, and the land around Moab and Springdale is a tourist destination. Land is mostly owned by one agency or another of the federal government, and there have been bitter fights between locals dependent on mining and environmentalists who want to preserve scenery. (You can see evidence of old uranium mines in some of the national parks.) President Bill Clinton’s campaign-year creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996, in a ceremony across the border in Arizona, enraged many Utahns, since it effectively removed 1.7 million acres from mineral development, much of it land owned by the state that used the proceeds for schools. Years later, local groups battled over access to the lands. Areas adjoining Dead Horse Point State Park and Arches National Park have been eyed for possible oil and gas projects.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 2nd Congressional District of Utah includes this vast region of the state, but the majority of its people live in Salt Lake County, east of a wobbling line between Interstate 15 and the often dry Jordan River. The area includes most of the affluent neighborhoods in Salt Lake City and the suburbs of South Salt Lake, Murray (an old smelter city settled by southern and central Europeans), Midvale, Sandy and Draper. In Washington County, St. George ranked as the second-fastest growing metro area in the nation from 2000 to 2008, with expensive homes and traffic jams and some spillover from Las Vegas. Half of the new residents came from elsewhere in Utah and many are retirees. Republican President George W. Bush won the district with 66% in 2004, and GOP presidential nominee John McCain carried it with 58% in 2008.