[REGIONAL NEWS] All politics is local: The national significance of Salt Lake City’s race for mayor

The Salt Lake City-County Building photographed from inside the Matheson Courthouse on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019.

By Katie McKellarn| Desert News

Thirteen years ago, now former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson captured national attention for Utah in an unexpected way when he led an anti-war protest against then-President George W. Bush during his visit to the state.

It was an eyebrow-raising moment for national onlookers — to see a mayor from a state widely considered one of the nation’s most conservative strongholds leading a protest against the Republican president.

“Wow. And this guy is the mayor of the biggest city in … Utah?” Bob Geiger wrote in 2006 in the Huffington Post under the headline, “SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson: A Righteous Dude in a Wrong State.”

That historical moment is a snapshot of what Salt Lake City has represented in its unique political and social position as Utah’s capital city — long considered an island of blue in a sea of red at the heart of conservative Utah.

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