The Utah Education Association is searching for a gubernatorial candidate friendly toward education as the state moves toward next year's general election.

At this point, political affiliation is not important, Lily Eskelsen, president of the 16,000-member teacher's union, said Tuesday."What's more important than whether the candidate is a Democrat . . . or a Republican is for this person to be an education governor," she said.

The association is organizing a committee to interview potential governors and is also planning conferences with Gov. Norm Bangerter, who said he will not run for a third term in 1992.

"We're starting early in our search for a candidate who'll recognize the needs of our children and do all that's possible for our schools," Eskelsen said.