Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Politicos gather 'round the Thanksgiving table

For the benefit of our readers, for which we’re very, very thankful (it’s Thanksgiving weekend, after all), and at great personal peril, we implanted surveillance devices in various turkeys, candied yams and pumpkin pies in select state and national locations. The NSA would be proud, although the ACLU is seeking a restraining order. Too late. We already heard what various politicos are secretly thankful for.

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee: "At my Thanksgiving feast, I’m celebrating the fact that all those moderate Republicans lining up to challenge me next year melted away like meringue on a lemon pie when prominent business leaders got behind my re-election.”

Gov. Gary Herbert: "So much to be thankful for. I’m leading all the nation’s governors, riding a strong economy, enjoy high approval ratings and have a fat campaign war chest. And the LDS Church is encouraging compassion for Syrian refugees!”

Gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Johnson:"I'm thankful for the results of the Salt Lake City mayoral election that show a popular incumbent can be defeated. It’s time to debate!"

Political commentators: "We are grateful for the forgiving nature of our audiences. Even though we keep predicting the decline of Donald Trump and he promptly goes up, people still listen to us."

Donald Trump: “I’m thankful the news media are so fixated on me that I even get in the Pig/Webb column in Utah (wherever that is). My campaign is beautiful! It’s spectacular! It’s fabulous — and the Mexicans are going to pay for it! Or I’ll waterboard them! You’re going to be so proud of me in Utah, even though you’re a loser flyover state of no consequence!”

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch: "As the nation’s senior statesman involved in every important issue in America, I have a lot to be thankful for. So much so that to repay my blessings I might just need to run for another term!”

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams: "I’m thankful for a minor clash with public employees as I seek budget restraints. It only helps me with Republican voters."

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox: "I’m thankful for the magic of mail-in balloting. Voter participation has increased and I'm getting lots of credit."

Congressman Jason Chaffetz: “Wow! I am very grateful this Thanksgiving. It’s been a heady year. I ran briefly for one of the most powerful political positions on earth. And Paul Ryan's ascension to the speakership solidified my Oversight chairmanship. And I get to spend my days investigating Democratic scandals!”

Congressman Rob Bishop: "I'm grateful the long saga of my Public Lands Initiative will soon result in actual legislation. And with opposition coming from both the left and right, I must be doing something right."

Attorney General Sean Reyes: "I'm grateful the Attorney General’s Office is now stable and quiet and just doing its job with no major controversies in sight — in contrast to the last few years.”

Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon: "At last, a Thanksgiving dinner when I can feel truly grateful. Republican infighting over Count My Vote, and Donald Trump leading the GOP polls has me salivating over more than turkey."

Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker: I’ve had a great eight-year run, and for that I’m thankful. The city is in good shape and now Jackie has to grapple with panhandling, homelessness — and ungrateful cyclists.

Salt Lake Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski: I’m thankful that most of the hard work figuring out solutions for the homeless population has been done just before I take office.

Democratic congressional candidate Doug Owens: “I am grateful that Mia Love’s minor controversies forcing her to reimburse the government for travel has given my campaign some early visibility."

Congresswoman Mia Love: "I'm grateful Doug Owens belongs to the same political party as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

Democratic Sen. Jim Dabakis: “I’m thankful to be the unabashed leftist spokesperson in Utah. I lose every fight, but I get lots of media attention."

House Speaker Greg Hughes: "I’m grateful for an independent House Republican caucus that’s willing to stand up to anyone. Even better, Medicaid expansion is off the table next session and no one can blame me."

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser: "It's nice to be part of history. The meetings I hosted to establish procedures for a constitutional convention could help restore proper balance in the federal system."

State Republican Chairman James Evans: “I’m thankful to protect the purity of the Republican Party brand by chasing moderates out of the Republican tent.”

Prop 1 supporters: “We’re thankful to win in 10 of 17 counties. But the Salt Lake County loss made us gag on our turkey.”

Pignanelli and Webb: We are grateful that we have readers other than our spouses that we force to read the column, and we’re especially thankful that politicians — despite their best efforts — remain interesting creatures who generate enough news and controversy to keep us busy every week.