Salt Lake County settled five primary contests Tuesday, with most of the attention on the races for commissioner and sheriff.
Gene Whitmore, an active Republican with a degree in public administration, beat hard-hitting community activist Pearl Meibos with 56 percent of the vote.Though he ran a low-key campaign against Meibos, Whitmore concedes he'll have to crank it up a few notches in the upcoming race against the well-known and very aggressive Commissioner Randy Horiuchi.
"You can expect a lively and aggressive campaign," Whitmore said, adding, "but we'll stick to the issues."
Whitmore attributed his victory to his qualifications and a campaign that addressed "a comprehensive range of issues." He predicts that those same issues - particularly management abilities and fiscal responsibility - will be Horiuchi's undoing.
In the second biggest race in the county, Democratic voters picked Pete Kutulas, a former deputy and three-term county commissioner, to run against Sheriff Aaron Kennard in November. Kutulas defeated retired FBI agent Lou Bertram with 67 percent of the vote.
Bertram, who had entered the race thinking there would be no opposition from within his party, blamed his loss on political inexperience and the low voter turnout. He said his inexperience first came into play at the convention, where surprise candidate Kutulas almost knocked him out of the contest with an overwhelming delegate vote.
Most Democrats - including Bertram - expect Kutulas to run a strong race against Kennard, banking again on his reputation and formidable political experience.
However, Kutulas said the campaign will be put on the back burner for two months while he completes the required police officer certification program.
After that, Kutulas said, the race for sheriff will take shape quickly and focus mainly on the candidates' experience, management styles, administrative priorities and what may be the most important political issue of 1994 - crime.
In the wide-open race for assessor, Democrat David L. Swan will square off against his co-worker, Republican Lee Gardner. Both are employed by the State Tax Commission.
In Tuesday's GOP primary, Gardner garnered 52 percent of the vote over Carol M. Webber, an assessor-office insider.
Swan bested the only non-appraiser in the race, Gary Bowen, in the Democratic primary with 53 percent of the vote.
In the GOP primary for the office of recorder, Nancy Workman received more than two-thirds of the votes over challenger Sally Lyon. She received the highest number of votes of any Salt Lake County candidate.
In the surveyor's race, Vaughn E. Butler received 63 percent of the vote in the Republican primary over J. Michael DeMass.
General election candidates in S.L. County
Jim Bradley (inc.) Commission seat A Mary Alice Callaghan i
Randy Horiuchi (inc.) Commission seat B* Gene Whitmorei
Pete Kutulas Sheriff Aaron Kennard (inc.)
David Yocom (inc.) District attorney Neal Gunnarsoni
David L. Swan Assessor Lee Gardner
Kevin Whatcott Auditor* Craig B. Sorensen (inc.)
Sherrie Swensen (inc.) Clerk* Keith Prows
Allan Moll County attorney Doug Short
Nancy Workman Recorder Jan Johnson
M. Carl Larsen (inc.) Surveyor Vaughn E. Butler
Gary M. Pratt (inc.) Treasurer Larry W. Richardson
Commission seat B: Stoney Teiko Fonua (Independent American), Maury A. Modine (Libertarian) and Ryan Randolph (Independent Party) Clerk: Frances Hatch Merrill (Independent Party) Auditor: Don Lee Gertsch (unaffiliated)