Hundreds of citizen-politicians hoping to rule their local towns and cities are official candidates following Tuesday's filing deadline. Leading the pack are Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corradini and Ogden Mayor Glenn Mecham, who hope for second four-year terms.
Towns that don't hold primary elections have a Sept. 26 candidate filing deadline. Oct. 3 is the primary election date; Nov. 7 the general Election Day.Corradini's race is the premiere contest in the state this year. She faces a former city commissioner, Stephen Harmsen, and a local attorney, Richard McKeowen, as her main challengers.
Salt Lake City's slates are crowded; more people filed for mayor and for a westside council seat than in any other election since voters threw out the old commission form of government in 1979 and adopted the council-mayor form.
Corradini said she welcomes the challengers, saying the large crop of candidates shows a high level of interest in city government and "speaks well for what we've done the last four years."
Several heavyweight challengers to Corradini waited in the wings this spring, hoping the mayor would be snared by a federal grand jury investigating a business with which she was once associated. But Corradini wasn't indicted - as she claimed all along she wouldn't be - and those would-be candidates never filed.
Sixteen candidates filed for the three Salt Lake council seats up for election. Council member Roselyn Kirk announced earlier she wouldn't seek re-election, and 10 people filed for that open seat. Council member Paul Hutchinson is being challenged by three people, including former Utah House member Joanne Milner. Council member Alan Hardman is challenged by community activist Deeda Seed.
Other cities in Salt Lake County don't have mayoral races this year.
In West Valley City, the state's second-largest after Salt Lake City, incumbent Councilwoman-at-Large Margaret K. Peterson and District 1 Councilman Leland L. DeLange both seek re-election. District 3 Councilman Russel K. Brooks, who filled Gordon Evans' seat earlier this year after Evans accepted an LDS mission, is seeking a full four-year term.
Challenging in District 1 is Ed Radke, a retired Hercules project engineer. And in District 3, challenger Terry Wirth is a neighborhood leader, land-use economics consultant and substitute teacher.
In Sandy, only two of four council incumbents whose terms are expiring will run for re-election. Council chairman Stan Price made a last-minute decision Tuesday to run for re-election as an at-large member. Price and five newcomers will compete for two at-large slots. Incumbent Dennis Tenney will face two challengers in the District 2 race.
At-large council member Judy Bell and District 4 councilman Ken Prince will not run again. Bell resigned her post earlier this month when she was appointed by Mayor Tom Dolan and the council to serve as the city's director of public utilities and special projects.
"This council in particular, when they ran, indicated they didn't want to be career elected officials and if the individuals who sought office were people they could support, they wouldn't run again," said council director Phil Glenn.
Less than two hours before the filing deadline, Price said he likely would allow his term to expire. But after a final-hour look at the list of announced at-large candidates, he threw his hat in the ring. He said he was hoping at least two others would enter the race.
"The more the merrier. I like to see people have a choice," Price said. "When somebody runs unopposed in a city of 90,000, that really upsets me."
That won't be the case this year.
Three of four West Jordan council incumbents are seeking re-election, and two current Planning Commission members are also running for the council.
District 2 incumbent C. Jay Bowcutt will be opposed by current commissioner Michael G. Coe and two others. District 1 councilman David Steven Plouzak faces one challenger, and Margaret Grochocki faces five challengers in her bid for re-election in District 3.
Planning Commissioner J. Michael DeMass is one of three candidates for the District 4 seat being vacated by Wayne Harper. The mayor and council on Tuesday appointed Harper to the position of economic development director, effective Sept. 5.
In other city council races, Murray council member Fred Jones has decided not to run again. And a minor furor could erupt in South Salt Lake, where South Salt Lake Stentinel editor Dick Stucki has filed for the District 3 seat. Several current council members worry that Stucki could use his paper, which gets a subsidy from the city, for political purposes and, in effect, could be voting on his own salary when the paper's subsidy comes up for review by the council.