This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 1992, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Democrat Kem Gardner, once perceived as a front-runner in the governor's race, lost his second key campaign aide in as many weeks and was meeting with supporters Tuesday evening to decide if he would drop out of the campaign.
On Jan. 14, the well-known Salt Lake businessman and party stalwart announced that Jan Johnson would take the reins as campaign manager and Robert Jolley would step aside, retaining the title ``campaign strategist.''
But Tuesday it was learned Mrs. Johnson had declined the post.
In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Gardner said he had not asked Mrs. Johnson to take the position. He denied even deciding to run for governor.
``I've never officially announced . . . I thought I ought to announce before I asked her to come aboard,'' Mr. Gardner said.
In fact, Mr. Gardner announced his campaign in an interview on Dec. 7 with The Salt Lake Tribune. ``I have a broad base of support now,'' he said in the Page One story. ``In 1984, I wasn't so prepared for the governor's race.''
Mr. Gardner also filed with the lieutenant governor's office to receive campaign funds.
In a Jan. 14 interview, Mr. Gardner said Mrs. Johnson would be his ``campaign coordinator.''
Sources close to the campaign, who wished to remain anonymous, said Mrs. Johnson had been offered the position but declined for undisclosed reasons. Mrs. Johnson did not return telephone calls from The Tribune Tuesday afternoon.
Some party insiders complained that Mr. Gardner's campaign was disorganized. Mr. Jolley's request to step aside as campaign manager fueled speculation that the campaign was falling apart.
Mr. Gardner refuted those statements last week, saying his campaign was well-organized and moving ahead at a brisk pace. He said he was looking forward to meeting another Democratic candidate, Stewart Hanson Jr., in a primary election.
``Right now I'm planning on a primary. I will beat Stewart Hanson badly,'' he said at the time.