Two Dems will vie for auditor’s post in primary
March 31, 2014
There were three, now there are two.
Former Park City Council member Alex Butwinski and former interim Summit County treasurer Michael Howard will face off in a June primary to see who will go on to November’s general election contest for the county auditor’s post. The winner will go up against Republican challenger Gary Shumway.
The Summit County auditor is one of seven full-time department-head positions at the county courthouse in Coalville and is elected to a four-year term. The county’s current auditor, Blake Frazier, ran unopposed in the last two elections and chose not to run for another term.
Butwinski and Howard ended in a dead heat in an instant runoff determined by 71 convention delegates. According to Summit County Democratic Party Vice Chair Sue Follett, three of the ballots were unusable and the remaining votes were exactly divided between Butwinski and Howard.
A third Democratic candidate, Scot Carlson was knocked out of the running at Saturday’s Summit County Democratic Party Convention at St. Luke’s Church.
In remarks to the delegates prior to voting, Butwinski said, "As a former Park City Councilmember I understand how government works and with a $50 to 60 million budget I will make sure we are spending money on the things we want to do."
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He added that he would ensure the auditor’s department worked in support of the manager and staff and concluded, "When I was not re-elected for council, I was told by many people I still had a role to play. I can do the job."
Butwinski, who has lived in Park City for 15 years serves on the board of the Summit County Arts Council and is now participating in the Mountain Accord initiative. He also cited his financial and managerial experience as attributes.
In his stump speech Howard told delegates that he enjoyed the time he spent at the county courthouse when he was appointed to fill treasurer Glen Thompson’s unexpired term. Thompson was forced to resign due to health problems in 2010.
"I fit in well," he said, adding he was disappointed when he lost his election bid for the post to current county treasurer Corrie Forsling. "I want a real four-year term."
Howard, a Park City resident, serves as chair of the Park City Fire Service District Administrative Control Board and is on the board of the Summit Land Conservancy and said he has an MBA in information technology.
"I really want to go back [to the courthouse]. I want to enhance the county’s reporting capabilities. I will work hard and I will be there full time," he said.
Early voting for the primary will take place June 10-20. Primary Election Day is June 24. So far, the only county contest on the Democratic side of the ticket is the auditor’s race. Summit County Republicans are meeting Thursday to determine whether they will be able to narrow their candidate list or will also hold runoffs.
Republican delegates at the county convention will be casting ballots in the recorder and sheriff contests.