Summit County Democrats have nominated a former judge to be the next county clerk
Peoa resident Eve Furse chosen to fill remainder of term
The Summit County Democratic Party has chosen a successor for retired County Clerk Kent Jones, nominating Peoa resident and former magistrate judge Eve Furse to serve until the term expires at the end of next year.
The position will be on the ballot in the 2022 general election and Furse committed to running for a full term. The county council is expected to appoint Furse to the position in the coming days.
The Democratic Party selected Furse after its organizing convention Tuesday evening. Only the 101 county delegates were eligible to vote, 77 of whom cast votes, according to Democratic Party Chair Katy Owens.
Furse defeated Chief Deputy Clerk Kellie Robinson 56 votes to 21. Robinson has worked for Summit County for decades, including holding the highest non-elected position in the Clerk’s Office, and has spoken for the office about election issues.
Every official who holds countywide elected office in Summit County is a Democrat, and Furse’s nomination appears to give her an advantage in securing a full term in next year’s election.
Before running for clerk, Furse, 48, practiced law for 25 years, including stints working for private law firms and for Salt Lake City and, most recently, as a federal magistrate judge. U.S. district judges in 2020 declined to reappoint Furse as a magistrate judge, in what was reportedly a rare move.
Furse said that marked a turning point in her career.
“I decided after, following that, I wanted to go in another direction. I no longer wanted to practice law,” she said. “This was more in line with what I want to be doing going forward, building community and being part of positive developments.”
As clerk, she plans to focus on registering people to vote, including the county’s new residents, and trying to promote public confidence in the voting system.
“I have become convinced in the last year of just how important our county clerks are to our right to vote,” she said. “We haven’t had voter suppression issues in Summit County the way some of the other states have, or other counties have, and I really want to help make sure that doesn’t happen going forward.”
In addition to overseeing elections, the Clerk’s Office administers a bevy of official documents including passports and marriage and business licenses. Furse said she’ll work to ensure the administrative process continues to be smooth and that she’s always had positive experiences with the Clerk’s Office, including when she’s voted and sought a marriage license.
Furse has lived with her husband in Peoa for 15 years.
“We’re big hikers and mountain bikers and skiers and just love the outdoors,” she said. “… All those years working in Salt Lake, it’s been this wonderful paradise to come home to, being in Summit County. I love the idea to be able to work and play in Summit County.”
This was Furse’s first run for public office and said she was gratified by the results.
Participating in Tuesday’s partisan election was a stark diversion from Furse’s career for most of the past eight years.
She said she felt constrained by the strictures placed on federal judges and that voting was the only political activity she was able to do during her time on the bench from 2012 to 2020.
She said she registered recently as a Democrat, and has previously registered as both a Republican and an unaffiliated voter.
“My values have always aligned with the (Democrats),” Furse said. She added that she had previously voted in Republican primaries.
“In Utah, where voting in the Republican Party has been really important … that was the way I could exercise my voice,” she said.
The County Council is expected to appoint Furse in a special meeting later this week or early next.
“As soon as I hear that, I’ll get to work,” she said.
“My hope is that the emphasis is on protecting the environmental and wildlife qualities. What they’re trying to buy and what they have optioned is basically a wildlife refuge,” Leslie Miller said.
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