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Easy Victory for Dukakis in Utah Caucuses

April 26, 1988

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Democrat Michael Dukakis captured 71 percent of the vote in Utah’s caucuses in his strongest showing yet in the West.

With just over 90 percent of the vote counted Tuesday, the state Democratic Party’s unofficial tally showed Dukakis with 7,550 votes to Jesse Jackson’s 1,682, or 16 percent. Some 1,231, or 12 percent, were uncommitted.

Based on those tallies, Dukakis would pick up 21 of Utah’s 23 Democratic delegates, while Jackson would gain two.

Party officials said vote counting from Monday’s caucuses was progressing slowly Tuesday because of debate over a rule governing uncommitted delegates and difficulties in contacting some county leaders to get their returns.

Official results were not likely to change the outcome for Dukakis, however, who already has won commitments from three of the state’s five ″super delegates,″ bringing his Utah delegate total to 24.

″We’re really happy. It’s his biggest victory in the West,″ said Gary Knoblock, Dukakis’ state campaign coordinator. ″It’s a long way from home to be winning by this kind of margin. We’ve been slowly climbing in the West, but this took a quantum leap.″

Still, Dukakis supporters showed respect for Jackson’s showing in a state with a white population of 93 percent and where Jackson received only 4 percent of the vote in 1984.

″He has moved the population that has not been involved in politics,″ said Pat Shea, Dukakis’ state co-chairman.

″The votes that came in for Jackson were certainly not all-inclusive minority votes. I feel very good about what we’ve done,″ said Jackson state chairman Marvin Davis.

Republicans faced fewer choices at Monday’s caucuses, which included mainly advisory votes on their preferences for vice president and whether they favor holding a Western regional primary in 1992 similar to the South’s Super Tuesday.

Results of the Republican balloting will not be available for several days, GOP Chairman Craig Moody said. ″But I know that Elizabeth Dole, Howard Baker and Interior Secretary Donald Hodel all were named.″