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Wasatch sheriff nominee had hunch - and it paid off

SHARE Wasatch sheriff nominee had hunch - and it paid off

Wasatch County sheriff candidate Joseph F. Nelson had a feeling he'd win but didn't dare tell anyone about the hunch.

"I had a gut feeling, but I didn't voice it. That could've jinxed it," he said after the votes were counted Tuesday night.Nelson, with 69 percent of the vote, beat fellow Democrat Steven W. Ridge. The victory has Nelson anxious to face Republican incumbent Mike Spanos in the final election.

"I'm still giddy," he said. "Oh my heck, what a high! Now it's time to get down with the hard work and win this thing."

In the only other local primary, County Commissioner Sharron J. Winterton, a Republican, won the chance for a second term. He beat Glen B. Van Wagoner by nearly 200 votes.

"You never want to be too confident in these things," Winterton said. "I'm glad I won, but my opponent put in a good showing."

Winterton hopes to serve one more term, he said. He will have to beat Democrat Ralph Duke in November to get the chance.

"I'd like to serve one more term and hang it up," he said. "There's a lot of things going on here that I want to be a part of. I want to help prepare for the Olympics."

Both candidates are already planning campaign strategies for fall. Both agree on the approach: They want to stick to the issues.

Nelson wants to do everything from change departmental policies to make Wasatch County's intersections safer. The sheriff's office needs to concentrate on keeping employees by offering better pay and more chance for promotion. He also wants to fight a recent increase in drug distribution and property crimes.

Winterton isn't against growth in Wasatch County but thinks local government should control it. The county has one of the fastest-growing populations in the state. He also wants to "fill the void" between the the government bureaucracy and the public by talking to the citizens every day.