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GRAHAM WINS, BUT 2 OTHER WOMEN FALL SHORT

SHARE GRAHAM WINS, BUT 2 OTHER WOMEN FALL SHORT

A political unknown four years ago, Jan Graham pulled off a major political coup when she won the Utah Attorney General's Office - the only Democrat to win election to statewide office.

On Tuesday, Graham proved that 1992 was no fluke, winning re-election by a 53 percent to 46 percent margin over Iron County Attorney Scott Burns."I had the advantage being the Republican, but she had the advantage of incumbency," Burns said. "The difference was name recognition. And also the amount of money they spent on this race. I was shocked to learn they spent $800,000 to $1 million on an A.G.'s race. I never expected that."

Actually, Graham claims she spent only about $615,000 on the campaign. Burns spent about $400,000, bringing the total spent by both candidates to more than $1 million - the most expensive attorney general race in Utah history.

In the end, the results were the same as they were four years ago: Democrats relishing Graham's improbable victory and the GOP licking its wounds and wondering how a state that routinely elects Republicans elected a Democratic attorney general for the third straight time.

Graham's 7 percent margin of victory was certainly more comfortable than the 1992 election in which Graham defeated Burns by less than 1 percent of the votes.

"The deciding issue was leadership," Graham said. "The people believed that my leadership over the past four years has made a difference in child abuse, domestic violence and the reform of criminal justice system, and when all was said and done, the voters put politics aside and said what we are doing is working."

Graham has four years to complete her work. She has vowed to step out of the political arena at the end of this term.

"I am not a political person, and I do not see the attorney general's office as a political opportunity for me," she said. "It is a labor of love, but I am not going to do political life anymore. I am really at peace with that decision."

Two other Democratic women had hoped to follow Graham's 1992 example, but both fell short in their bids for statewide office. D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli - daughter of longtime Salt Lake County Recorder Katie Dixon and wife of House Minority Leader Frank Pignanelli - ran an aggressive campaign against 16-year incumbent GOP state treasurer Ed Alter but failed by a 57 percent to 39 percent margin.

Former Emery County Auditor Karen Truman also failed in her bid to defeat State Auditor Auston Johnson, a Republican, who was running his first campaign after being appointed to the office when the elected auditor, Tom Allen, resigned. Neither candidate campaigned much, and Johnson won by 58 percent to 42 percent margin.

"Karen and I were both unknown on a statewide level," Johnson said. "We expected it to be close. Neither one of us had name recognition. And it was a race for a technical job that doesn't attract attention." And that favored the Republican in a GOP-dominated state.

Pignanelli says she has no regrets about her campaign, which was based on a proposal to eliminate the office of elected state treasurer.

"This is the highest profile race they have ever had for the state treasurer's race," she said. `We discussed whether it should be an elected or appointed office, whether taxpayer dollars were used for campaign purposes (with the unclaimed property insert). We discussed access to records and reports of where the money is being invested.

"We ran an issue-oriented campaign, and people now know a little more about the office. I am proud of that," Pignanelli said.

But in the end, it was simply not a good year for Democrats in Utah. At least not with a wildly popular Republican governor and widespread resentment toward Democratic President Bill Clinton.

"I don't fault him (Gov. Mike Leavitt) for his 81 percent approval rating, but it sure makes it hard on Democrats," Pignanelli said. "People just aren't crossing over to vote Democratic."

Burns would beg to disagree, noting that Republican voters did cross over to vote for Graham, enough of them to cost him the election. Nevertheless, Burns made a remarkable comeback in the four days prior to election, coming from 22 points down in the last Deseret News/KSL TV poll to lose by about 7 percent.

That turn-around, although too little too late, was due in part to last-minute campaign ads in which Leavitt emphasized his support for Burns. It left Burns and others wondering what might have happened had Leavitt more actively campaigned for Burns weeks sooner.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

County-by-county tallies for other state offices

Attorney general State treasurer

Precincts

reporting Graham Burns McCul'gh Pign'lli Alter Butler

Beaver 8 of 8 718 1,427 22 733 1,219 104

Box Elder 37 of 37 6,347 6,986 114 4,005 8,494 601

Cache 59 of 59 5,541 5,921 134 6,736 18,147 890

Carbon 17 of 17 5,366 2,140 80 4,669 2,343 266

Daggett 2 of 2 195 199 0 130 223 3

Davis 205 of 205 35,031 34,998 660 23,929 43,868 2,276

Duchesne 12 of 12 1,970 2,256 54 1,102 2,752 158

Emery 12 of 12 2,126 1,901 55 1,708 2,122 119

Garfield 10 of 10 492 1,285 7 320 1,306 7

Grand 11 of 11 1,687 1,446 109 1,381 1,513 154

Iron 21 of 21 2,729 6,539 87 2,259 6,396 340

Juab 12 of 12 1,191 134 6 867 1,521 6

Kane 12 of 12 615 1,672 34 514 1,629 81

Millard 17 of 17 1,524 2,684 41 1,187 2,799 165

Morgan 8 of 8 989 1,684 3 1,074 1,775 17

Piute 5 of 5 221 485 0 179 453 1

Rich 5 of 5 324 442 4 193 529 5 Salt Lake 655 of 655 168,366 108,153 5,075 129,045 130,360 10,252

San Juan 20 of 20 2,087 1,919 38 1,764 2,102 31

Sanpete 26 of 26 2,628 3,502 92 1,570 4,170 234

Sevier 23 of 23 2,412 3,852 61 1,514 4,126 238

Summit 26 of 26 6,025 3,173 102 4,436 3,889 334

Tooele 27 of 27 5,869 3,445 124 4,406 4,267 477

Uintah 22 of 22 2,947 4,469 139 1,929 4,996 258

Utah 200 of 200 40,778 55,623 1,118 22,438 67,423 2,981

Wasatch 16 of 16 2,276 2,040 58 1,573 2,442 159

Washington 55 of 55 7,773 16,658 417 5,781 16,886 779

Wayne 7 of 7 413 701 0 287 725 12

Weber 147 of 147 33,679 21,824 653 24,347 28,733 2,308

Total 1,677 of 1,677 342,319 297,558 8,929 250,087 367,208 23,256

State auditor

Precincts

reporting Truman Johnson

Beaver 8 of 8 872 1,209

Box Elder 37 of 37 4,323 8,791

Cache 59 of 59 8,027 17,538

Carbon 17 of 17 5,516 1,957

Daggett 2 of 2 134 153

Davis 205 of 205 22,522 44,142

Duchesne 12 of 12 1,407 2,584

Emery 12 of 12 2,642 1,412

Garfield 10 of 10 371 1,254

Grand 11 of 11 1,617 1,415

Iron 21 of 21 2,691 6,318

Juab 12 of 12 966 1,391

Kane 12 of 12 433 1,537

Millard 17 of 17 1,329 2,810

Morgan 8 of 8 989 1,684

Piute 5 of 5 178 449

Rich 5 of 5 230 484

Salt Lake 655 of 655 134,024 129,104

San Juan 20 of 20 1,820 2,054

Sanpete 26 of 26 2,140 3,746

Sevier 23 of 23 1,782 4,038

Summit 26 of 26 4,341 3,364

Tooele 27 of 27 5,041 4,057

Uintah 22 of 22 2,242 4,890

Utah 200 of 200 23,412 67,821

Wasatch 16 of 16 1,694 2,421

Washington 55 of 55 6,608 17,502

Wayne 7 of 7 370 613

Weber 147 of 147 25,690 29,244

Total 1,677 of 1,677 263,411 363,982