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West Side Democrats dominate

With four Democrats from Park City and the Snyderville Basin elected to the Summit County Council the West Side now has control of county government.

But politically the county is still split along party lines.

The first five-member Summit County Council will include Sally Elliott, Claudia McMullin, John Hanrahan and Chris Robinson, all Democrats from western Summit County. Kamas Republican David Ure prevailed against Samak Democrat Steve Weinstein in a tight race for the fifth seat on the board, which will replace the three-person Summit County Commission when the county’s form of government changes in 2008.

Though Elliott, who currently serves on the Summit County Commission, did not win even one voting precinct in eastern Summit County, she defeated Woodland Republican Bill Miles handily in the contest for seat A by garnering many more votes in Park City and the Basin.

"There is definitely an issue of East versus West," Miles said in a telephone interview Friday. "The Democrat/Republican split also appears to be quite an issue."

Ure is one of few Republicans elected to a county office in the past decade who did not campaign unopposed, Miles explained.

"You could blame it, rather than East/West, on Democrat/Republican," Miles said.

Some westsiders wrongly believe people in eastern Summit County want unrestricted growth and oppose open space, Miles said.

"Westsiders think some of us eastsiders would wreck the planning code," Miles said. "We’ve got to learn to get along haven’t we? We need to learn to work together."

Elliott, who won the election with nearly 58 percent, said she had hoped to win a few precincts near Coalville.

"I thought I would actually win several of the North Summit precincts," Elliott said. "I am deeply committed to representing the county equally and fairly."

On the commission Elliott said she strives to bridge the divide between East and West.

"When I hear that there is a problem I sit down with the people who are affected and they tell me how they would like the problem resolved, and that’s the way we do it," she said. "That election was very bipartisan I think no partisan issues will come before the council and if they do I don’t think we’ll deal with them in a partisan way."

Henefer Republican Grant Richins won many East Side precincts by more than 80 percent but did not get enough votes in western Summit County to defeat McMullin in the race for seat B. McMullin won with 55 percent.

Meanwhile, Silver Creek Democrat John Hanrahan trounced Parkite Republican Tom Hurd winning County Council seat C by garnering 61 percent of the votes.

More than 80 percent of voters in areas of Old Town and Prospector chose Hanrahan. The popular physician also partly bridged the geographic divide by winning a precinct in Wanship.

"I’m excited about this new council and I think we can do great things for the county," Hanrahan said.

Snyderville Basin Democrat Chris Robinson also garnered votes from both sides of Summit County. Robinson had support from 51 percent of the total electorate to defeat Park City Republican Alison Pitt and Jeremy Ranch resident Gary Shumway, a member of the Constitution Party.

"I would have hoped I would have done better on the eastern side of the county," Robinson said. "I absolutely care about representing all of the county and I’m going to do my darnedest to represent everybody."

Robinson said he isn’t surprised Miles and Richins fared so well among eastern Summit County voters.

"Those men were born and reared in eastern Summit County so that’s not a surprise," Robinson said.

Finally, two South Summit men faced off in the tightest council race. Ure, who represented Park City for several years in the Statehouse, made inroads on the West Side to defeat Weinstein with nearly 52 percent of the votes.

Ure swept the East Side and carried voting precincts in Silver Creek, Jeremy Ranch and Park Meadows.

Visit http://www.parkrecord.com/election08 to see a map of how each precinct voted.


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