Former Francis mayor drops out of Summit County Council race |

Former Francis mayor drops out of Summit County Council race

Byron Ames was slated to face a political newcomer at Tuesday’s Republican convention

The first Republican to run for a Summit County Council seat since 2016 has dropped out of the race less than one week before the party’s nominating convention.

Former Francis Mayor Byron Ames, shown in 2018, announced his plans on to run for the Summit County Council in mid-February. On Thursday, he said he would end his candidacy. He is the first Republican to run for a seat on the council since 2016.
Courtesy of Byron Ames

Former Francis Mayor Byron Ames announced on Thursday he ended his candidacy for Seat E, currently held by Glenn Wright. The incumbent is not seeking another term on the County Council and is pursuing a congressional campaign.

Ames, an attorney, said the decision was work-related. His law firm, which has locations in Park City and Nevada, signed a new client at the Las Vegas office, which requires Ames to become more involved outside of Utah. He anticipates it will take several months of dedication there.

“For a few weeks, I’ve been doing (mental) gymnastics to avoid this,” Ames said. “Maybe there will be another opportunity to step back in but I have to focus on work instead of a campaign.”

The former mayor and political newcomer John “Jack” Murphy were slated to compete on Tuesday for the party’s nomination for the general election in November. Karen Ballash, the acting chair of the Summit County Republican Party, said county delegates will still participate in a vote to accept Murphy as the nominee.

“We feel it’s important that the county delegates have a voice in approving the candidate and continuing with the process,” she said.

Ballash encourages delegates to attend the event and hear from several state and federal candidates who are expected to participate. The Republican Party’s nominating convention is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday at South Summit Middle School.

Ames launched his campaign in mid-February and became the first Republican to run for a seat since 2016, with the former mayor characterizing himself as a moderate. The most recent Republican to serve on the County Council was Tal Adair, who was appointed in 2015 and lost to Wright in the election the following year.

Ames believed his candidacy would allow voters to elect someone who has their “foot in the door” on the East Side. He said his campaign was inspired by a desire to provide a voice for those residents. Ames served one term as mayor ending in January and said he tried to see the “big picture” while in office, a trait he hoped to bring to the County Council.

With Ames’ withdrawal, Murphy will likely appear on the November ballot with Libertarian candidate Michael Franchek and Canice Harte, who won the Democratic nomination for the seat over Coleen Reardon earlier this month, for Seat E. County Councilor Chris Robinson, who ran uncontested in the Democratic Party, will face Republican challenger Holly McClure for Seat D in the general election.

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