Misty K. Snow predicts Summit County win in November
Misty K. Snow, a transgender woman who lives in Salt Lake City, on Tuesday won the Democratic nomination to challenge for a seat in the U.S. Senate, dismissing an opponent seen by many in the party as too conservative and propelling herself into an Election Day contest with a far right incumbent.
Snow, 30 years old and from Salt Lake City, ousted Jonathan Swinton for the party’s nomination. She will attempt to unseat Sen. Mike Lee, a first-term Republican who rose from the Tea Party movement, in November. Snow won 59.4 percent of the statewide vote on Tuesday to Swinton’s 40.6 percent, according to the preliminary count on Tuesday. The numbers in Summit County were similar as Snow took 57.7 percent of the vote.
Snow said she is confident she will perform well in Summit County on Election Day in November, predicting she will beat Lee in the county. Summit County, particularly the Park City area, has long been one of the few Democratic strongholds in the state. She said Democrats are expected to have strong showing in November, describing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as being unpopular in the state and saying Democrats typically perform well in years when the White House is on the ballot. She also said voting by mail will increase turnout, something that often favors Democrats.
“This state has very progressive Democrats . . . The demographics are changing pretty quickly,” Snow said, adding that the margin of her win on Tuesday is a “good, strong mandate.”
Snow said she intends to hold two or three events, either meet-the-candidate gatherings or fundraisers, in Park City prior to Election Day. She said Park City is a “very friendly place for Democrats.”
Snow is campaigning on a platform involving a range of issues that include women’s rights, supporting the middle class and shifting the energy portfolio toward cleaner-burning alternatives. Snow wants the federal minimum wage increased to $15 per hour over a four-year span.
Glenn Wright, the chair of the Summit County Democratic Party, said the margin on Tuesday “somewhat surprised” him. He declined to discuss whether he supported Snow or Swinton, saying he is a member of the state Democratic executive committee and cannot endorse someone prior to the party choosing a nominee.
Wright said Snow could capture the supporters of Democratic White House hopeful Bernie Sanders, the winner of the party’s presidential caucuses in the state. That could lead to higher turnout by Democrats in November, he said.
“To me, it shows that group of voters is energized,” Wright said, adding, “She is going to bring a more liberal view on issues. She’s definitely a down-the-line Bernie supporter.”
Advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community hailed the Snow win on Tuesday as an important moment in the state.
Sheila Raboy, a Trailside resident and the former director of operations at the Utah Pride Center, an advocacy organization, said the diversity of the state is reflected in elections like the Democratic primary on Tuesday and the Salt Lake City mayoral win of Jackie Biskupski, who is gay. The elections show “we want to reflect Utah is not all old, white men,” Raboy said. She acknowledged Snow will have difficulty unseating the incumbent Republican in a state that leans heavily toward the GOP.
“It is a win to have the visibility . . . It has advanced the state’s social geography to the world,” Raboy said.
The top staffer at Equality Utah, another advocacy organization, said Snow is role model.
“Misty is really opening the doors of conversation,” Troy Williams, the executive director, said, adding, “She’s broken through a huge barrier . . . and that’s going to inspire many people.”
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The Park City Council on Thursday declared June as Pride Month, indicating it fits well with City Hall’s social equity efforts and acknowledging the proclamation was at least partially inspired by a recent controversy in Heber City regarding the flying of rainbow flags.