Campaign scuttlebutt lacking | ParkRecord.com

Campaign scuttlebutt lacking

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Three Park City Council spots are on the November ballot — the number of people who are running so far.

It is early in the filing window for Campaign 2007, which closes July 16, but there has been little scuttlebutt about this year’s election, leaving some wondering whether there will be much competition for the City Council seats this fall.

Incumbent Joe Kernan filed papers, as did challengers Liza Simpson and Kacy Quinley. Candy Erickson, another incumbent, has said she plans to seek re-election but has not filed campaign papers yet.

There has been little talk otherwise of people who might run, potentially turning the election into another campaign with few choices. The three who have filed and Erickson publicized their intentions beforehand. No surprise candidates have filed.

"It appears as though it will be relatively mild," says City Councilman Jim Hier, whose seat at City Hall is not on the ballot in 2007.

Hier, who is in his second term, says two people consulted him about a City Council campaign but he declines to say who they are.

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If more than six people file papers, a primary election would be held to reduce the field to six for Election Day, which is Nov. 6.

The lackluster interest thus far is reminiscent of the 2005 election, when Mayor Dana Williams ran unopposed for a second term and three people competed for two spots on the City Council, a paltry number of candidates compared to previous years. Hier and Roger Harlan won the two City Council seats on the 2005 ballot, beating Mark Blue.

The previous City Council election, in 2003, featured 11 people on the primary ballot. They sought the same three seats as those that voters will decide this year. The 11 were from disparate segments of Park City and the primary-election season provided voters a ballot loaded with different platforms.

Quinley, who lives in Park Meadows, filed papers on Thursday. She has said she continues to craft a platform and said in June she expects traffic will be the top issue during the campaign. She has also said she wants to ensure Old Town remains attractive.

Marianne Cone, the City Councilor who holds the third seat on the ballot, does not plan to seek re-election. Some expected her announcement, made on Monday, would spur a quick run of candidates but political circles remained quiet immediately afterward.

"I’m not hearing anything about people running," Kernan says. " this time four years ago, we had more people."

Still, he expects between seven and 10 candidates will file papers, enough for a primary election. In the last week, he says, he spoke to two candidates who ran in past elections. One is considering running but Kernan does not want to identify the person.

Meanwhile, with Park City’s economy humming, Kernan surmises, some people are too busy to consider a campaign.

Campaign 2007 is expected to be a congenial affair, in contrast to the hotly contested pre-Winter Olympic elections. The candidates will likely spend time debating development, traffic and tourism, among other standard Park City election issues.

"We must be doing a good job, as a city as a whole," Hier says.

To run, a person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old by Election Day, a resident of Park City for 12 consecutive months before Election Day and a registered voter in Park City.

The filing window closes 5 p.m. July 16. Candidates must file papers at City Hall. Cindy LoPiccolo, City Hall’s elections official, works in the Attorney’s Office, which is downstairs at the Marsac Building. Her phone number is 615-5026.

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