All politics is local? perhaps not in Park City on this Election Day
November 2, 2010
Jocelyn Lutter headed to the polls Tuesday morning decked out in her Election Day finest: a vest decorated with patriotic colors and elephants, leaving no doubt which political party she prefers.
Tuesday, Lutter hoped, would be a great day for the Republican Party nationally, with there seeming to be momentum for the GOP in the congressional elections.
The congressional campaigns on the local ballot did not appear to be competitive. The Republicans were heavily favored in the House of Representatives district that includes Summit County as well as the Senate seat now held by Republican Bob Bennett. But that did not matter to Lutter and other voters who went to the polls saying that the congressional seat and the Senate position were some of the most important decisions on the ballot.
"I’m think the Republicans are hoping we can effect some change and take back control," Lutter, who lives in the Snyderville Basin, said outside the Eccles Center polling place.
She said she was most interested in the national-level positions that were decided on Tuesday, but Lutter also acknowledged she followed the campaign for the Summit County sheriff. Lutter said federal issues like tax policies and immigration reform were especially important to her.
"Today might be the day that the Republicans can get back in," Lutter said.
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The conventional thinking is voters are most often drawn to the polls to vote in local campaigns like those for municipal and county offices, and the Summit County positions on the ballot, particularly the sheriff’s office, drew the most attention in the Park City area during the election season. Other decisions made on Tuesday included whether to extend a countywide tax to raise money for recreation programs, arts and parks.
But some voters on Tuesday morning also conceded that national issues like the economy and ongoing military operations were critical to them as they headed to the polls two years after Barack Obama won the White House on an Election Day when national issues seemed to trump the local ones.
The ballot on Tuesday pitted Republican Mike Lee against Democrat San Granato for the Senate seat. Lee was expected to win by a wide margin, but Granato was likely to have some of his strongest showings in the state in the Park City area. Rob Bishop, the Republican incumbent congressman whose district includes Summit County, faced Democrat Morgan Bowen, with Bishop being seen as the likely winner even if his returns in Summit County are not as robust as elsewhere in the district.
Judy Billeter, who also voted at the Eccles Center, saw her choices in the national-level campaigns, along with the gubernatorial contest, as perhaps being the most important of the day. She wonders about the direction of the U.S. over the past few decades.
"Both the wars have been horrendous. Wall Street, how did that happen?" Billeter said.
Another Park City voter, Deer Valley resident Maria Booth, cast her ballot at the Marsac Building, saying afterward the congressional campaigns and the contest for the governor’s mansion were the most important to her even as she understood critical decisions were also made at the local level.
Booth, who voted for the Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, said she realized her selections were underdogs.
"I still think it’s important to express a point of view different than the mainstream of Utah," Booth said, arguing that the U.S. has moved in a "pretty radical direction."
As there appeared to be great interest in the post-Election Day makeup of Congress, some voters on Tuesday still went to the polls more intrigued with the local campaigns.
Elaine Stevens, who lives in Old Town and voted at the Marsac Building, wanted to support the extension of the tax to fund recreation programs, arts and parks. She cast a vote in most everything on the ballot Tuesday, but she sees the local decisions as having more weight.
"I don’t see one individual being the golden bullet," she said about the national-level campaigns. "There’s no one person who’s going to solve the problems we’re in. It’s a worldwide issue."