The Park Record editorial, June 19-22, 2010 |

The Park Record editorial, June 19-22, 2010

Tuesday's voters may determine November election

Typically, primary elections in Summit County draw less than 10 percent of the electorate, but this Tuesday that small faction will likely determine the outcome of November’s general election in two important Statehouse races.

In state House District 53, which includes all of Summit County except a portion of the Snyderville Basin, it is almost a given that voters will once again send a Republican to the Legislature. So, the winner of Tuesday’s Republican contest may very well be Park City’s next representative.

There is a similar situation in House District 25, which covers that portion of the Basin not included in District 53 and a Democratic-leaning swath of the east side of Salt Lake City. The small group of voters that bothers to turn out on Tuesday will pick the name that appears on November’s ballot and, therefore, the projected winner.

District 25 residents have two new faces to choose from in the Democratic primary. Their two-term Representative Christine Johnson decided not to run again. Newcomers Joel Briscoe and Anthony Kaye are competing to take her place. Tuesday’s winner will face off against Republican Rick Raile in November.

Briscoe currently is the director of a teacher’s union in Davis County and his opponent Kaye, is an attorney. Neither one has a political track record so at this point it is tough to differentiate between the two.

In the Republican race, however, a political veteran is fighting for his life against a fresh face from the far right. Mel Brown, a Coalville rancher, has served two multiple-term stints in the Legislature and has always towed a conservative, Republican Party line, often to the chagrin of many of his Park City constituents.

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His opponent, Jon Hellander, places himself to the right of Brown on the political spectrum. He identifies strongly with the current anti-incumbent Tea Party movement, wants tougher immigration laws and lower taxes. He successfully forced Brown into a primary runoff and may well trump him at the polls on Tuesday.

June primaries are a tough sell when voters are more interested in vacations than politics, but we would suggest that these off-year primaries are extremely important on the local level. In particular, we would warn moderate Republicans who are alarmed at the direction their party is going in to carefully consider their choices on Tuesday.