Another top-shelf politician mulls mayor’s office | ParkRecord.com

Another top-shelf politician mulls mayor’s office

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Candy Erickson, the popular Park City Councilwoman serving her third term, said in an interview she will consider campaigning for the mayor’s office this year if the incumbent mayor, Dana Williams, does not seek re-election.

Erickson said, though, she would not challenge Williams, who is in his second term and has not said publicly whether he intends to seek a third term. Erickson won a City Council seat in 1999 as a newcomer to City Hall politics, drawing votes from a wide range of Parkites.

"I would be incredibly proud. This town has been my home for 26 years now," Erickson, who is 53 years old, said.

Erickson lives in Park Meadows and works at Cole Sport. She moved to Park City in 1983.

Erickson’s interest in Park City’s highest office comes as election season approaches. The midsummer candidate filing window remains two months away, but two people have already announced they would campaign for the mayor’s office. Former Mayor Brad Olch wants to return to the job and Diania Turner, who owns a shuttle company, has also said she will be a candidate.

Erickson will wait for a decision from Williams before she would commit to a campaign. Williams has deflected questions about his intentions for months. He has said he will not make public his decision until it is time for candidates to file. Erickson said she has not spoken to Williams about his plans.

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If he does not run for re-election, Erickson said she could pick up some of his votes, saying that they have similar political leanings and that they have "a lot of the same fan base."

When he won in 2001, Williams drew on a populist groundswell that easily put him into office in a highly competitive campaign that unfolded in the weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and as the 2002 Winter Olympics neared. He was unopposed when he won re-election in 2005, a rare instance of a candidate in Park City not having a challenger.

Erickson is seen as closer to the political center than the left-leaning Williams. She champions the resort industry but also has been in office as City Hall has undertaken an ambitious set of upgrades to Old Town streets.

But there is rarely significant disagreement between Williams and the five City Councilors. If Williams does not win and Erickson mounts a campaign, it is likely her platform would have some similarities to the one that the mayor has crafted during his administration. Williams has especially been interested in City Hall’s green programs, sometimes known as the city’s sustainability efforts, which are meant to lessen the local government’s effects on the environment. The City Council has supported the efforts as the mayor has championed the programs.

Erickson said she has "gotten a few" words of encouragement from her supporters as she has talked about the prospects of a mayoral campaign.

"It’s people who have voted for me for years," she said.

Erickson’s interest is more evidence that this year’s mayoral campaign will likely be a return to the competitiveness of most of the past 20 years. There was a series of tough contests since the late 1980s, but it is difficult to gauge whether this year’s campaign will be reminiscent of those contests.

If more than two people file papers to run for the mayor’s office, a primary will be held Sept. 8 to reduce the field to two candidates for Election Day on Nov. 3.

Two City Council seats, those now held by Roger Harlan and Jim Hier, are on the ballot as well. There has been little chatter about the two City Council seats.