Republican Party targets Bob Richer
Two challengers who stepped forward on the final day of the filing window forced Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer, a Democrat from Snyderville, into a fight for his job.
Two Woodland Republicans, Seth Winterton and Bill Miles, filed Friday to oppose Richer for the County Commission seat.
Meanwhile, with two of the three-member County Commission seats on the November ballot, the other Democrat up for re-election, Summit County Commissioner Ken Woolstenhulme, of Oakley, is running unopposed.
In other political contests scheduled in the county this year, Democratic Summit County Clerk Sue Follett, County Assessor Barbara Kresser, another Democrat, and Republican Sheriff Dave Edmunds are the only other three candidates facing opposition.
Regarding his lack of opponents Woolstenhulme said, "We’re involved in so many controversial things, I don’t know who in their right mind would want to get involved I’ve been a part of getting us in this mess, I guess, I’d like to be a part of getting us out."
In 2002, Woolstenhulme defeated Silver Creek Republican David Allen and write-in Democrat Patrick Cone, from Oakley, in the race for seat B on the County Commission. Richer defeated Coalville Republican Merlyn Johnson in the contest for seat A.
Commissioners serve four-year terms.
"[Winterton] has been involved in the background of a lot of different races," said Diane Walker, chairwoman for the Summit County GOP.
Winterton works as deputy director of the division for marketing and development for the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Winterton was not immediately available for comment.
"I look forward to discussing the issues and having an opportunity to highlight our accomplishments over the last three years," Richer said.
Miles said he has been interested in politics for some time.
"I believe that elected officials are servants of the people. That’s who they should represent," Miles said.
Meanwhile, most of Summit County’s elected department heads, including Summit County Attorney David Brickey, Auditor Blake Frazier, County Recorder Alan Spriggs and Summit County Treasurer Glen Thompson will not face challengers in 2006.
Park City Senior City Recorder Cindy LoPiccolo has challenged Follett. On Friday, Park City resident Kathy Dopp, a member of a political party known as the Desert Green, filed as a candidate for county clerk. Dopp has been highly critical of Follett and Summit County’s choice of electronic-voting machines.
Kent Jones, the former Republican county clerk, filed to reclaim the office. He lost to Follett in 2002. He filed as a Democrat this year.
Pinebrook Democrat Ron Perry and Park City Republican Eugene Lambert are running against Kresser for assessor.
On the last day to file, the race for the sheriff’s post had already prompted political sparks. The Republican incumbent faces a challenge from Democrat Scott Mark, a police officer in Kamas.
Mark dispelled rumors Friday that he is in the contest in response to Edmunds’ recent push for the suspension of Kamas Police Chief Errik Ovard.
"It’s totally not true," Mark said Friday.
Ovard’s state certification to practice law enforcement was suspended this year after he pleaded no contest to charges related to domestic violence.
"It’s not personal for me, whatsoever. I’m running for a job," Mark said. "I’m glad to be a part of it you will see a lot of me and my qualifications in the future."
Responding, Edmunds touted his three-year record as sheriff.
"I look forward to [the campaign] and I consider it a great opportunity for me to explain to the constituents what we have been able to accomplish," Edmunds said. "We’ve come a long way at the Sheriff’s Office and public safety is nothing to be trifled with."
He claims he has fulfilled "every single" promise he made while campaigning against Summit County Sheriff’s Office veteran Joe Offret in 2002.
Response times for deputies have decreased because of area assignments he implemented, Edmunds said, adding that deputies are also now psychologically evaluated before they are hired.
"We are protecting this community better than it has ever been protected before and I believe the constituents can see that," Edmunds said.
On March 21, Republicans and Democrats will hold caucus meetings to elect delegates at several locations in the county. Party faithful will try to pick their candidates at conventions scheduled this spring.
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