Eastsiders advance thanks to higher turnout
July 1, 2006
Because her Republican opponent is one of Democratic Summit County Assessor Barbara Kresser’s biggest supporters, the incumbent might have secured a fifth term when she defeated Pinebrook resident Ron Perry in Tuesday’s primary election.
The Republican in the race, Eugene Lambert, works for Kresser in the Assessor’s Office. Lambert says he may not officially withdraw from the contest, but won’t campaign either.
"[Lambert is] a good friend and he’s a good appraiser," Kresser said Friday.
Lambert even appeared in photographs in newspaper advertisements endorsing Kresser’s candidacy.
"I stood on my record," she said about her victory Tuesday.
Kresser trounced Perry, a former Summit County commissioner and assessor, 71 to 29 percent.
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"I thought it would be a little bit closer," Kresser confessed.
Perry said, "I got slammed."
"I knew going into this that it was going to be one of the toughest political battles that I have been involved in," he added.
He won a handful of precincts in western Summit County but was soundly defeated on the East Side.
Kresser received all 10 votes cast in Peoa.
"That just reflects that my helpers were out and about," Kresser said.
Perry partly blamed voters in western Summit County who didn’t cast ballots.
"I have name recognition in the Basin," he said. "But I think that maybe the attitude of those who did vote was, Barbara has done a decent job, why change?"
Overall voter turnout was less than 10.9 percent, but not more than 10 percent of registered voters cast ballots in any West Side precinct.
Turnout in southern Old Town was 2.9 percent the lowest in Summit County.
Voters in Coalville came in droves. The 48 percent who participated in Spring Hollow in North Summit had the highest turnout countywide.
"I don’t think we had five percent in the West Side this year," longtime Henefer politico Randy Ovard said. "I can’t understand why there was that much apathy."
The other county race on the primary ballot saw Democrats Kent Jones, of Henefer, and Snyderville resident Cindy LoPiccolo face off to replace outgoing Summit County Clerk Sue Follett.
Jones, a North Summit resident and former county clerk who Follett defeated in 2002, defeated LoPiccolo, who currently works as Park City’s senior recorder, 57 to 43 percent.
Having served several terms as a Republican, Jones turned some heads when he filed as a Democrat in the clerk’s race.
The results split largely along geographic lines with eastsiders picking Jones and LoPiccolo garnering most of her votes in western Summit County.
"I felt like the circumstances were right for me to come back and the smartest way was to win it in the primary — just based on the demographics of the county," Jones said, adding that Follett defeated him four years ago by 49 votes.
Jones now faces Desert Green Party member Kathy Dopp, of Park City, in November’s general election.
Johnson stomps Ewing in Basin
Much emphasis was placed during the primary campaign on the race between Salt Lake City residents Christine Johnson and Josh Ewing to replace Rep. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City in state House of Representatives District 25.
During redistricting several years ago, the Utah Legislature lumped a portion of the Snyderville Basin in with voters from Salt Lake City neighborhoods like the Avenues and Sugar House.
The move more strongly fortified an already Democratic stronghold on Capitol Hill but Basin residents felt "disenfranchised" by the change, Johnson said.
"Because this district is so gerrymandered," she added.
She says Basin residents are most concerned about education and the environment.
Funding programs in the state to help preserve open space will be a priority on the Hill, added Johnson.
"People in the Basin want to look around and see mountains and open space," she said.
A self-proclaimed "citizen lobbyist", Johnson, who is openly gay, claims she has spent hours trying to persuade lawmakers to beef up funding for treatment of HIV/AIDS and nurses in schools, and has been a champion for gay rights.
"I’m very excited to be on the floor and be on record all of the time," she said. "It’s one thing to be heard in the lobby by one legislator, it’s something else to be on the floor and have a captive audience of the entire House."
Johnson defeated Ewing 57 percent to 43 percent. Only 33 votes separated the candidates in Salt Lake, however, 269 Basin residents supported Johnson compared to the 89 who voted for Ewing.
Johnson faces a challenge from Republican Kenneth Grover in November.