This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Inside Republican sources tell me that former Gov. Mike Leavitt is laying the groundwork to challenge Sen Mike Lee for the GOP nomination in 2016.
The sources say Leavitt was concerned that another six years of Lee, who along with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who make up the Senate version of The Three Stooges, would be too embarrassing.
The tipping point leading to Leavitt's decision was Lee's declaration a few days ago that he would filibuster any federal gun legislation in the Senate, including a provision that would make it a felony to purchase a gun as a proxy for a convicted felon or diagnosed seriously mentally ill person who would be restricted from purchasing a weapon.
That scenario played out last week when a woman was charged with purchasing a weapon for a convicted violent offender who then used that weapon to murder the director of prisons in Colorado.
So Lee proposes to block an attempt to punish aiding and abetting in a murder in order to protect Second Amendment rights. That position, sources confide to me, almost drove Leavitt to drink.
Leavitt and other Republicans who are willing to state publicly that the Earth, indeed, is round, not flat, have put in motion a nomination reform process that would allow a candidate to qualify for the ballot if he or she got enough signatures on a petition, regardless of how many votes that candidate received in the convention.
Leavitt, who was elected three times, would never succeed these days in a GOP state convention because he is not willing to say we need to hoard machine guns and mortars to protect ourselves from gay, radical environmentalists who are in the country illegally, belong to a teacher's union, go to PTA bake sales and were born in Kenya.
Meanwhile, I have learned that Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, has had an epiphany and wants to apologize to anyone he has offended or hurt by past boorish or bullying behavior.
Noel has sent emails to those who have asked him to rethink some of his positions on federal land issues, apologizing for calling them socialist liberals who have no right to an opinion. With the emails, he is fulfilling part of a 12-step program for rage-aholics he entered at the urging of former Sen. Chris Buttars, who has gotten a whole new perspective on life since he joined an all-male ballroom dance group called the Bette Middlers.
Since joining the Republican-dominated Utah Senate this year, state Democratic Chairman Jim Dabakis has also gained a new perspective .
The openly gay Democratic senator, who earlier in his life was an active Mormon, has agreed to take missionary lessons from Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, who was so excited at the prospect of saving someone that he has promised not to bash liberals and RINOs and focus only on gospel stuff.
And if you believe anything I have written in this column, double-check today's date.