Democrats file to oppose incumbents
March 11, 2006
Nine Summit County offices could be contested in November and two incumbent Democrats already face challenges from members of their party.
One week before the filing deadline, the challengers are touting their experience.
Former Summit County Assessor Ron Perry, a Democrat, this week filed to run against Democratic County Assessor Barbara Kresser. Meanwhile, Park City Senior City Recorder Cindy LoPiccolo could oppose Summit County Clerk Sue Follett in a Democratic primary slated June 27.
"My whole career has been clerk related," said LoPiccolo, who filed Thursday as a candidate in the clerk’s race. "I have worked for local government for over 22 years."
Though the Summit County Clerk’s Office oversees business licensing and the issuing of passports, how a clerk administers elections garners the most attention.
For nine years, LoPiccolo has worked in City Hall’s legal department, helping to oversee Park City’s municipal elections.
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In 2006, voters in Summit County will use touch-screen electronic ballot machines for the first time.
"I have no worries about the electronic voting," LoPiccolo said.
Follett rebuffed those who criticize her for pushing for the purchase of the controversial Diebold voting machines in Summit County. But, according to Park City elections activist Kathy Dopp, the equipment is ripe for tampering.
Meanwhile, Perry, a Pinebrook resident who was defeated by County Commissioner Sally Elliott for the commission seat in 2004, has already served about five years as Summit County Assessor. He was appointed to the post in 1985 and elected in 1986 to a four-year term.
"I’m just basically going on the fact that I’m qualified for the position," Perry said. "One of my long-term goals has always been to go back to the Assessor’s Office."
But Kresser, who is in her fourth term, says county staffers have convinced her to try to defend her post since she announced last year that she would retire.
"When she realized that I was going to run, she decided to run," Perry said. "I really don’t know her motivation."
Kresser succeeded Perry as assessor in 1991.
"The county is going to go to a new computer system," Kresser said. "We’ll be going to a new appraisal system."
The Assessor’s Office appraises property in the county, which helps determine how much homeowners pay in property taxes.
"People really don’t think about us until they need me," Kresser said.
This week, each of Summit County’s incumbent elected officials re-upped for additional terms, including County Commissioners Bob Richer and Ken Woolstenhulme, who are both Democrats.
Only three Republicans Summit County Attorney David Brickey, Sheriff Dave Edmunds and Treasurer Glen Thompson had filed as of Friday afternoon.
"There are people who are very interested but they are taking more of a wait-and-see attitude," said Bruce Hough, vice chair of the Summit County Republican Party.
The filing window opened March 7 and some candidates file the first day, Hough said, adding, "they say, ‘I’m in, don’t get in.’"
"That sends a message," he said.
But, Hough added, "it’ always interesting the last day."
Both parties will elect county and state delegates during caucus meetings scheduled in Summit County March 21. At press time Friday, Republicans hadn’t determined locations for their caucuses.
According to County Democratic Party chair Rob Weyher, four Democrats will be elected as delegates in 36 voting precincts. Democratic caucus meetings are slated at North Summit Elementary School, South Summit High School and Treasure Mountain Middle School at 7 p.m.
For information about how to file as a candidate contact the County Clerk’s Office at 615-3203. Elected officials in Summit County are currently paid the following salaries:
Summit County commissioners are paid $53,186 per year. The filing fee to run for commissioner is $265.93.
The Summit County assessor, auditor, clerk, recorder and treasurer are paid $76,773 per year. The filing fee for these offices is $383.86.
The Summit County attorney is paid a salary of $99,133. The cost to file to run for attorney is $495.66.
The Summit County sheriff is paid $80,954 per year. The filing fee for sheriff’s office candidates is $404.77.