Final filing day sees more new candidates
With seven county department head positions and two County Council seats up for election this year, there is no shortage of interested candidates. Only one department head will run unopposed. Perhaps the most interesting race this year will be for county auditor: three Democrats and one Republican have filed.
At the close of the filing window on Thursday, here is how the races for each county position will stack up this campaign season.
County Council Seat D
Summit County Council Chair Chris Robinson, a Democrat, will seek re-election, citing his experience with land use and environmental issues. Robinson will not have a challenger within the Democratic Party, but will face Park City Republican Craig Williams in the general election.
Williams is a market interface manager with the Western Electricity Coordinating Council who says that a balance is needed between protecting the environment and promoting economic growth.
County Council Seat E
County Council member Dave Ure, a Kamas Republican, will vie for his seat again. Ure brands himself as the "lone voice for the East Side" on the Council and is also its only Republican. A rancher, he is dedicated to preserving the East Side’s agricultural heritage as well as promoting economic development.
Ure’s challenger will be Marion Democrat Sean Wharton, who is the current chair of the Eastern Summit County Planning Commission. Wharton said he has knowledge of the issues and demographics of both the East and West Sides and, like Ure, has also had experience as a farmer.
Current Assessor Steve Martin, an Oakley Democrat, will run unopposed in November’s election. He said enjoys his job and wants to continue, and is involved with the Multi-County Appraisal Trust’s effort to develop an assessing software program for all 29 Utah counties.
County Attorney David Brickey, a Republican, will face a campaign against former Third District Court Judge Robert Hilder, a Democrat.
Brickey said he is dedicated to the continued development of the Drug Court and pursuing a separate building for the Children’s Justice Center.
Hilder stressed that the Attorney’s Office should focus more on its Civil Division, which he thinks is not getting enough attention compared to the Criminal Division. Consolidating the prosecutorial and civil aspects of the office should be considered, he added.
Both candidates agreed that they will campaign on their strengths and not the other’s weaknesses. Hilder and Brickey are well acquainted through the Third District Court serving as judge and attorney, respectively.
Three Democrats will compete to be on the ballot for county auditor against Kamas Republican Gary Shumway. Democrats Scot Carlson, Alex Butwinski and Michael Howard will be vying for the Democratic Party nomination.
Carlson is the Vice President of Acquisitions for Black Diamond and has 23 years of professional financial experience, also previously serving as the company’s Chief Financial Officer and IT director.
Butwinski, a former Park City Council member, has run his own business and believes that gives him a financial background that would be helpful for the auditor position.
Howard, from Park City, did not respond to requests for comment.
Representing the Republican Party, Shumway, from Kamas, is a software developer who has worked with computers since 1976. He wants to become auditor to act as a financial watchdog for the county, emphasizing the importance of having a member of the county’s minority party act as a check to the majority.
Democrat Kent Jones, from Henefer, will seek re-election this November and will run against Park City Republican Nick Coleman, a local real estate agent.
Jones said the Clerk’s Office has made many improvements during his tenure and he would like to be involved in helping to coordinate the "future of elections," as there are calls for technological changes in voting machines.
Coleman, a local real estate agent who has an extensive background in information technology, would also want to help bring in new technology to the Clerk’s Office, and is a certified Project Management Institute project manager.
Recorder Mary Ann Trussell, a Democrat from Henefer, was the only candidate to file for the position until the final day, when two Republicans entered the fray: Park City resident Elizabeth Gwilliam and Wanship resident Vicki Richards.
Trussell said she is an advocate for property and ownership rights and that tracking ownership in her position is important.
Gwilliam did not respond to requests for comment.
Richards, who moved to Utah last year from Arizona, has 10 years of experience managing the University of Arizona’s water conservation program and said she was also very involved in politics in her previous state.
With Republican Sheriff Dave Edmunds not running for re-election, his colleague, Capt. Justin Martinez, a Democrat, will be the lone internal candidate for sheriff this year.
On the Republican side, two candidates will compete for their party’s nomination — Dax Shane, of the Salt Lake City Police Department, and Kris Hendricksen, of the Utah Valley University Police Department. Shane lives in Francis and Hendricksen is a Kamas resident.
Democratic Treasurer Corrie Forsling is seeking to renew her position this November and will face Kamas Republican Amy Yost.
Forsling touted many of her accomplishments over the years, including allowing taxpayers to sign up for monthly debit pre-payments for paying property taxes. She also wants to increase efficiencies within the office and utilize new technologies.
Yost, who has 20 years of experience in the mortgage and financial services industry, has been a treasurer with several companies and said she just wants to "get more involved with local government."
Party conventions are next, with the Summit County Democratic Party holding its convention on March 29 and the Republican Party April 3. From there, both parties will hold their state conventions on the weekend of April 26.
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