Joe Biden, Mitt Romney each might visit Park City in coming weeks
Vice President Joe Biden and Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican White House nominee, each might make fundraising stops in the Park City area in coming weeks, possibly bringing the biggest political star power to the city since the early days of the 2008 presidential campaign.
Biden could visit sometime in July, a state Democratic official said, while Romney could appear later this month during a retreat for high-level donors. The retreat is slated for June 22-24, according to an event schedule outlining fundraising levels.
There have not been indications that either of them will make a public appearance if they visit Park City. It is also not known how long they would stay in the city. It seems likely that the visits would be short stays centered on the fundraising efforts.
Jim Dabakis, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, said he has heard the vice president could visit Utah in July. If he does, Dabakis said, Park City would be a potential location for a fundraiser.
"Park City is always on everyone’s list to have fundraisers, because it’s so beautiful up there," Dabakis said.
He did not provide details about a Biden event.
Glenn Wright, who heads the Summit County Democratic Party, said he was told of the Biden visit Monday morning. He said the Park City area has proved to be a lucrative place for Democratic fundraising.
"He’ll get a great reception. The party’s raised a lot of money here in the past," Wright said, adding, "It’s a great honor. How many places do the president, the vice president, first lady visit?"
Wright refers to local fundraising stops by Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. Barack Obama, then an Illinois senator, visited Park City early in the 2008 campaign while Michelle Obama arrived in July 2011 for a brief event.
Henry Glasheen, the chairman of the Summit County Republican Party, said he is unsure whether he will be able to attend the Romney retreat given the schedule of other political events those days. If he does attend, Glasheen said, he would like Romney to stress the economy in his remarks.
"I don’t want to hear about social issues. I don’t want to hear anything else. I just want to hear him talk about the economy," Glasheen, who has met Romney a few times, said.
Sheriff Dave Edmunds, who would have a key role in the security planning if either Biden or Romney visit, said Monday evening the Sheriff’s Office had not been contacted about a Biden stop. Edmunds, though, said there has been initial communications about a Romney visit. He said he was contacted last weekend. He declined to discuss who approached him.
"Unofficially, yes, there have been phone calls," Edmunds said. "It’s all unofficial at this point."
The sheriff said he does not expect the Secret Service to request assistance until shortly before an appearance. The Secret Service handles security for both Biden and Romney.
"If they called us the night before, even the day of, we would do what we needed to do," Edmunds said.
A roster of top-level candidates has held fundraisers in Park City or the Snyderville Basin since the 2008 campaign, tapping the wealth of Parkites and vacation-home owners. Obama and Romney each stopped locally during the 2008 election cycle. Romney was once a Park City homeowner.
Others have included Rudy Giuliani and Jon Huntsman. George W. Bush, meanwhile, made a fundraising trip to Park City on behalf of Republicans during his second term. There have been congressional and Senate money-raising events in Park City as well.
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Park City on Friday began the first steps toward selecting buyers for a workforce or otherwise affordable housing project in the northern reaches of Old Town. It is a process that is expected to draw widespread interest as rank-and-file workers compete to win the right to acquire a unit that would put them a few blocks away from Main Street, City Park and Park City Mountain Resort.