Democrats plan county convention |

Democrats plan county convention

Patrick Parkinson, Of the Record staff

Local candidates will not be sparring at the Summit County Democratic Party nominating convention because there are no local races that are contested within the party.

However, four Democrats who are vying in the race for state House District 25 will debate each other at the convention. The candidates include: John Netto, Joel Briscoe, Anthony Kaye and Dixon Hindley.

"They’ve all committed to come to our convention and to have a small debate. It is going to be very interesting," Summit County Democratic Party Chairman Glenn Wright said. "We will give them a couple of minutes to introduce themselves and then we will let them ask each other questions."

District 25 stretches from neighborhoods on the east side of Salt Lake County into parts of the Snyderville Basin. All of the Democrats vying for the post are from Salt Lake County.

"We really don’t know too much about them," Wright said.

Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake City, currently represents District 25. Johnson has announced her plans to retire from the Legislature in 2010.

Recommended Stories For You

Meanwhile, Democrats may have some momentum after the passage of health reform in Washington, D.C.

"In the local party everybody is very happy that that has happened," Wright said.

Infighting among Republicans will also help Utah Democrats win races this year, he said.

"There are internal conflicts within the Republican Party to see how far to the right people can be," Wright said. "I think that is going to help out Democratic candidates in statewide elections."

U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, could be in "big trouble" in his re-election bid, Wright said.

Bennett faces challenges from within his party.

"There is going to be turmoil," Wright said.

County Courthouse races

The nominating convention for the Summit County Democratic Party is scheduled at Park City Mountain Resort Legacy Lodge April 17 at 4 p.m.

There are no contested county races on the Democratic ticket this year. However, Democrats and Republicans are facing off for several elected offices in the County Courthouse.

"I think our incumbents are going to do very well," Wright said.

He said Democratic Summit County Clerk Kent Jones will defeat his Republican opponent. Jones faces a challenge this year from Park City Republican Richard Motto.

But the most high-profile Courthouse contest is the race for sheriff. Republican Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds faces a challenge from Francis Democrat Dax Shane.

"There is a fair amount of dissatisfaction, both within the department and on both sides of the county, with the Edmunds administration [Shane] is a very viable candidate," Wright said. "[Shane] has more experience now than Edmunds had when he took over the job eight years ago. Edmunds now has a track record and some of that track record is not all that good."

Meanwhile, Park City Democrat Corrie Kirklen is the most qualified candidate in the treasurer race, Wright said. Kirklen faces a challenge from Jeremy Ranch Republican Henry Glasheen.

"Corrie Kirklen is going to do very well," Wright said. "She is very highly qualified and I think she has a better background and a better personality for the job, for working in conjunction with the team in Coalville, than her Republican opponent."

The Democratic Party will also support Francis Democrat KayCee Simpson in his bid to unseat Republican Summit County Councilman David Ure.

"[Simpson] will have a case to make and I’m supporting every Democrat on the ticket," Wright said.

Wright is also a candidate this year. The party boss said he expects to be the Democrat who takes on state Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville, in November.

State conventions for the Democrats and Republicans are scheduled May 8 at the Salt Palace Convention Center.