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Utah's Democrats may be down but they're not out, despite taking some severe hits in last fall's election, an unsuccessful 1988 Democratic senatorial candidate said Saturday.

Democrats in both Davis and Salt Lake counties held their conventions this weekend, choosing new officers and hearing from candidates for state party offices.Speaking to the Davis County delegates, Brian Moss - who made no secret of his plans to seek office again someday - blamed many of Utah's problems on the Republican officeholders who have dominated the state's politics.

"Times are very difficult here in Utah, very tough, and no one wants to talk about it," he said. Utah's economy is stagnant; people are selling their homes and moving out of the state; and the prospects for children, both in and out of school, are dim.

Moss accused Republican legislators of regularly engaging in conflicts of interest, serving on legislative committees that oversee or govern the businesses and industries that pay their salaries.

Republicans on the state and national level are greedy, using their offices for financial gain and "salting it away by the hundreds of thousands of dollars," he charged.

Moss also warned of Republican shenanigans in the 1990 redistricting, saying the GOP will try to gerrymander district lines to put incumbent Democrats in danger and preserve their party's rule in Utah.

The Democrat said that although his party's high hopes were basically dashed last November, the party is still in a progressive cycle, getting stronger.

Democrats in both counties heard from candidates for state party offices, to be elected at the June 24 state convention. Kelly Atkinson, Peter Billings, and Marvin Davis are in a three-way race for party chairman. Two candidates, Kay Christensen and D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, are running for vice-chairman.

In Davis County, J. Dell Holbrook was chosen as the new county chairman, with Bonnie Kilgannon as vice-chairman, Laura Phelps as secretary, and Lillian Wood re-elected treasurer.

Salt Lake County's Democrats elected Earl Hardwick as their new chairman, Ella Westley as vice chairman, Annalisa Anderton, secretary, and Gary Pratt, treasurer.

Warren Nuesmeyer, who has served as chairman for six years and is now running for state party treasurer, was presented a plaque honoring his service.

The Salt Lake County delegates heard a keynote speech by County Treasurer Art Monson and remarks by National Democratic Committeeman Pat Shea.