Politicians are often amazed at how the worm can turn.

Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corradini must be wondering this week what has hit her.While the mayor still has not responded in full to a bankruptcy investigator who reports that Corradini benefited financially from questionable business practices of a firm she was associated with, certainly early press reports look bad for the mayor - only six months into her first, four-year term.

It may well turn out that Corradini did absolutely nothing illegal. But even so early in the investigation, it's clear that she made huge profits from a company that eventually went public, then went bankrupt, leaving stockholders' investments worthless.

Yes, Corradini ended up with a lot of worthless stock, too. But what did she pay for it in the first place? And how much money did she bring in during the heyday of Bonneville Pacific Corp.? Corradini says she was a victim of the bankruptcy as well, but only a bottom line accounting by Corradini will show that.

While it may turn out that Corradini has no legal responsibility whatsoever, she is no longer the private business woman of a year ago. She's the mayor, the most public official in the state's capitol city.

Her race drew national attention last fall. She's the first female mayor in the city's history. She, and those who supported her, had great expectations. In short, citizens will expect a full, public accounting.

At the very least, her reputation is damaged - a reputation Corradini carefully molded over years as a successful businesswoman who gave much of her time to charitable and volunteer work.

Mayors and governors have to be leaders. And effective leaders must mold public opinion, not just follow it. Corradini is on the verge of being seen as a stereotype - the business wheeler-dealer of the 1980s, a time where just about anything went and fortunes were made over night as the country reeled from corporate takeovers, mergers and leveraged buyouts.

Bonneville Pacific was a high-riding company with some leading Utahns at the helm and in the board room. Perhaps there is one fall guy, one officer (not Corradini) who is responsible for all the problems. But rarely is it so simple.

Clearly, this scandal is Corradini's greatest test in her early public career. How she deals with it will determine if she's the first one-term female mayor in the city's history.

- Democrats meet tonight and Saturday in the state convention. While Republicans will see a bunch of primary fights this year, Democrats will escape many of them. From delegate polls and conversations with a number of candidates, it appears:

- U.S. Rep. Wayne Owens will just nip challenger Doug Anderson. It's always tough to get 70 percent in a convention. But various delegate polls, none done by Owens or Anderson, show that Owens is within striking distance.

Of course, conventions are volatile animals. A bad speech by Owens, an excellent speech by Anderson, some last minute rumors flying around the hall, all could lead to Owens falling short in the delegate vote. But if all goes relatively well for Owens, he'll have the summer to raise money and prepare for the Republicans in the fall.

And Anderson will go back to consulting for corporate giants, and thinking whether it will be worth it to spend another $1 million of his own money again in 1994 in a U.S. Senate race. (A note of warning here: rumors from Washington, D.C., have 3rd Congressional District Rep. Bill Orton looking at that 1994 race, also).

- Weber State University professor Ron Holt should get 70 percent of the vote and advance to face GOP Rep. Jim Hansen in the 1st Congressional District. Holt has two other Democrats in the race, but polls and candidates think Holt will have enough steam to get over the 70 percent hump.

- State Sen. Karen Shepherd seems assured of getting 70 percent in her 2nd Congressional District race. Williams Robbins has tried, but failed, to break into the Democratic Party's old guard. Shepherd, a well-spoken, moderate-to-liberal woman who is pro-choice, just has too many weapons in the traditionally liberal Democratic convention.

- Orton is unchallenged in the party, and so will automatically advance to the finals in the 3rd Congressional District.

- The only major Democratic primary will come in the governor's race. While Pat Shea may be moving up among the general public, his pro-life stand and acceptance of Utah's tough abortion law will hurt him.