Andy Beerman, a first-term member of the Park City Council, said on Tuesday he is "seriously considering" mounting a campaign for the mayor's office later this year.
He declined to discuss the prospects of a mayoral campaign in any depth but indicated he hopes to finalize a decision within a few weeks. Nobody else has publicly declared an interest in a campaign. The three-term incumbent, Mayor Dana Williams, has not announced his intentions.
Beerman said he had been "pondering" the idea of a mayoral campaign for six months and given the topic serious thought for the past month. He said he spoke to Williams about the upcoming campaign recently, but he did not provide details about the discussion.
Beerman is 43 years old and lives in Old Town. He has lived in Park City since 1995. He is an owner and operator of the Treasure Mountain Inn with his wife, Thea Leonard. He had been the president of the Historic Park City Alliance, a group that represents the interests of businesses on or just off of Main Street.
"I've received a lot of encouragement from leaders in the community, people I respect," Beerman said.
Beerman won his City Council seat in 2011. If he were to mount a successful mayoral campaign, he would leave the City Council seat midterm. He won the City Council seat on a platform that included smart growth, economic expansion and environmentalism. Beerman said a platform during a mayoral campaign would be similar to the one in 2011.
Candidates for the mayor's office and the two City Council seats on the ballot in November -- those held by Alex Butwinski and Cindy Matsumoto -- cannot formalize their campaigns until the summer. The window when candidates are required to file paperwork at City Hall runs from June 3 until June 7, earlier than in the past.
The mayoral campaign is expected to be the most closely watched this fall. If Williams seeks a fourth term, he could face in Beerman a candidate with similar platform planks as well as others who mount campaigns. If Williams does not seek re-election, the field could widen as potential candidates see an opening without the incumbent on the ballot.
There has not been widespread talk about other mayoral candidates. Candidates typically do not make their intentions public until later in the spring or early in the summer. If more than two people seek the mayor's office, a primary election will be held to reduce the field to two candidates for Election Day in November. The winner will be sworn into office in early January.
Williams has proven to be perhaps the most successful politician in Park City in the skiing era. He won his first and third campaigns by wide margins against top-tier opponents, and he was unopposed when he won his second term.
Beerman said his decision will not depend on whether Williams seeks re-election or whether others seek the office.
The prospects of a Beerman candidacy have drawn attention and a private cocktail party is scheduled next week with him as the featured guest. Sally Elliott, a retired politician who served in elected office in Park City and Summit County, is hosting the event for Beerman, saying that it was organized "to encourage him to run." She said the event will not be a campaign fundraiser, though.
Elliott said she will support Beerman if he becomes a candidate, calling him a "brilliant young man." She touted Beerman's business ties, his connections to Main Street and his recreation-loving lifestyle. Elliott anticipates between 30 and 40 people will attend the cocktail party.
"He represents a whole new generation of people," she said.
Elliott said the 12 years Williams will have spent in office by the end of his third term is "a long time" in public office. She said the upcoming hiring of a new city manager presents an opportune time for a new mayor as well.
"I'm getting a ton of discussion back and forth. There are a lot of people who are supporting Andy," Elliott said.