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Although the first snows have descended on Manti Mountain and the frost is on the pumpkin in the valley, the weather along the campaign trail is warming up.

Three Sanpete County offices - the auditor, the sheriff and County Commission seat A - are up for grabs, and the candidates agree on at least one thing: the last few days are crucial in the race.Other county candidates are unopposed, including Leonard M. Blackham seeking re-election to commission seat B.

County commissioner

J. Keller Christenson, 69, Gunnison, a six-year commission member who is seeking re-election, said, "The county needs experience.

"My major concern is with economic development," Christenson said. "I think we've made real progress in the organization of a county economic development office that has a full-time director and support from Snow College, the county and the towns and the cities.

"We've succeeded in bringing everyone together in a cooperative effort," Christenson said.

Christenson mentioned the establishment of the Sanpete Sanitary Landfill, enhanced senior citizen programs and improvements to the county infrastructure as other accomplishments.

Dean W. Anderson, 73, Axtell, the Democratic candidate for the commission seat, said, "after six years of Keller, it's time for a change."

He said mismanagement of this year's budget resulted in a deficit that required a property tax increase.

And he added that the county revolving loan fund has not been adequately monitored. The result, he said, has been money down the drain.

The commission has also, Anderson claimed, wasted taxpayer money on repetitive land surveys in the Sterling-Six Mile area.

"We need a Democratic watchdog on what for too long has been a three-man Republican commission," Anderson said.

Anderson and Christenson are very similar in background, experience and public service. Both were successful farmers and livestock operators until their retirement. Both have served as officers in agricultural and civic organizations. Both have attended the state's colleges and universities. And both consider themselves fiscal conservatives.


Two veteran lawmen, both Republicans, are running for sheriff. Sheriff Wallace Buchanan, Manti, is seeking a second term on the Republican ballot.

Chuck Ramsey, a Fairview police officer who served as sheriff by appointment of the Republican-dominated commission from April 7, 1987, to Dec. 31, 1988, filed as an independent candidate for the office. While Ramsey was sheriff, Buchanan was his chief deputy. Ramsey was defeated in the Republican convention in 1987. Buchanan won there, in the primary and finally in the general election that year.

Before winning election as sheriff, Buchanan had been a Sanpete County deputy sheriff for 16 years.

Before moving to Sanpete, Ramsey was a Los Angeles County deputy sheriff for several years and also worked in law enforcement in Alaska.

County auditor

The only other county candidate for re-election who has opposition is Jay Alder, Manti, the county auditor.

Alder, a Democrat, was a deputy in the clerk-auditor's office for seven years before he was appointed by the County Commission on Jan. 1, 1986. He won election to the position in 1988 and is now a candidate for a third term.

His Republican opponent is Tom Clark, Centerfield, who is employed by Sanpete County as an equipment operator. Clark has operated his own business and has also held management positions in the automotive industry. He attended Snow College and the College of Eastern Utah.