Eric Eliason, United Utah congressional candidate, plans stop in Park City
A third-party candidate in the contest for the congressional seat that includes Park City and surrounding Summit County plans to make a campaign stop in Old Town on Tuesday, a bid to broaden support in a community that is seen as one of the state’s few reliably Democratic outposts but one that he hopes to sway with a strong environmental plank.
Eric Eliason is seeking the 1st Congressional District seat now held by the Republican Rep. Rob Bishop. Eliason and Democrat Lee Castillo are attempting to topple an incumbent who has dismissed challengers by wide margins over the years. Democrats have long counted on Park City and Summit County in congressional elections even as the Republican candidate amasses large blocs of votes elsewhere on the way to large Election Day victories.
Eliason’s presence on the ballot, though, could put Park City and Summit County in play. That may split votes between himself and Castillo, making it more difficult for either one of them to approach Bishop on Election Day if the incumbent enjoys his traditional numbers in the heavily GOP parts of the district.
Eliason is campaigning as a member of the United Utah Party. He is an investor, businessperson and adjunct professor at Utah State University. Eliason lives in Logan.
Eliason in an interview said he has a goal of winning Summit County in November. It is an “important county for us,” he said.
“Park City’s been good to us. We’ve got a lot of support in the area,” he said.
Eliason said he plans to describe the ideal of “principle-driven governing versus party-driven governing.”
“It’s putting country over party and Utah over party,” he said.
Eliason describes himself as supporting the environment and a proponent of public lands, stands that, according to the candidate, seem “to match a lot of what’s important to people in Park City.”
He also outlined a platform plank centered on campaign finance reform, saying the influence of money in politics is one of the top problems with government. Eliason said his campaign is not accepting contributions from corporations. Utahns are financing his campaign, he said.
“When special interest is more important than public interest, that’s a problem,” Eliason said.
He proposes a cap on campaign fundraising and spending, perhaps at $300,000 in a district the size of the 1st Congressional District.
Eliason made a public appearance in Park City in June alongside the two Democrats who at the time were seeking the party’s nomination. Eliason at the June event, held at the Park City Library, addressed immigration at a moment when family separations further polarized the issue. He said at the event the separations “in any way should be out of the question.” Eliason also said spending in Washington is out of control.
Eliason plans to make brief introductory remarks followed by questions from the audience. The event is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. in the community room at the Park City Library and is expected to last an hour.
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Park City on Tuesday hosted an open house designed to provide information about a wide range of municipal projects and programs, but the event took on greater meaning with the gathering becoming among the largest City Hall-organized events held in person in the more than a year.