It was a squeaker as Ruth Wagner pulled off a three-vote upset over incumbent Summit County Commissioner Ron Perry on Tuesday in the Democratic primary.
But Wagner isn't doing a victory jig just yet. Perry has asked for a recount, and four absentee ballots remain at large."All I need is one of those," said Wagner, who polled strongest in the Snyderville Basin on a platform aimed at a middle class squeezed by rising real estate prices and a stagnant local job market.
The outstanding absentee votes are valid as long as they were postmarked by Monday, said the county clerk's office, and all of them must be in by noon next Tuesday for a final canvass of the results.
County Clerk Kent Jones said it's uncertain under primary-election rules whether Perry can get a recount.
The incumbent noted that there were considerable problems tallying the vote. The job normally takes less than an hour but dragged on until 2 a.m. - six hours after the polls closed - because a vote-counting machine failed.
Perry said the weak turnout - less than 10 percent of the county's registered voters - probably hurt him.
Perry had run on a continuation of the same growth-control platform he was elected on four years ago. During his current term he joined fellow commissioners Sheldon Richins and Gene Moser in voting for a broad new land-use code that is among the most restrictive in the country.
Wagner, who will run against two other candidates this fall if her primary victory stands, said she faces a tough race.
"I did very well here in the basin, but not so well out in the county, so I know where the hard, hard work needs to be done."
In this fall's general election, Wagner would face Republican Tom Flinder, a former commissioner, and Sally Elliot, a past Park City councilwoman who is running independently.