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Mike Winder to enter race for Salt Lake County mayor

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 17 2012 8:41 p.m. MST

Mayor of West Valley City, Mike Winder, talks in his office Friday, January 14, 2011.

Brian Nicholson, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Mike Winder is expected to officially announce his candidacy for Salt Lake County mayor during a meeting with supporters next week.

Winder, now in his third year as mayor of West Valley City, sent an email to supporters this week to invite them to an announcement at 10 a.m. next Tuesday at Frida Bistro.

Winder, a Republican, confirmed that he's scheduled "a political announcement" for that date, time and location, though he would not confirm his candidacy.

Sources with knowledge of the campaign told the Deseret News that Winder will announce he is entering the race for Salt Lake County mayor.

Winder previously has said he was considering a run for county mayor, but it was unclear whether he would follow through with those plans after he became embroiled in controversy that threatened to derail the campaign before it launched.

In November, Winder admitted to Deseret News editors that he created a false identity to write news stories about West Valley City. Seven of his stories first appeared in the Oquirrh Times under the fictional name of Richard Burwash.

Winder later submitted three articles that were published by the Deseret News and another that was posted on KSL.com through Deseret Connect, the media group's freelance contributor network. The Salt Lake Tribune also published a photo credited to Burwash.

Fallout from the incident included Winder resigning his position as director of public affairs for The Summit Group.

Winder apologized for his deception on several occasions, including during a City Council meeting last month when he was reprimanded by his council colleagues.

Candidates for the four-year mayor's seat include Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove. In addition to Winder and Snelgrove, fellow Republicans Gary Ott, Salt Lake County recorder, and former County Councilman Mark Crockett also have announced their candidacies to succeed Mayor Peter Corroon, a Democrat, who opted not to seek a third term.

Utah state Sen. Ben McAdams, D-Salt Lake City, and Senate Minority Leader Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, also are running for the office.

Winder has been active in his two years as mayor of Utah's second-largest city, counting among his accomplishments the redevelopment of Valley Fair Mall and the launch of the $500 million Fairbourne Station project, as well as securing naming rights for the Maverik Center — formerly known as the E Center.

Winder also introduced an English language initiative and has worked to increase standards for government transparency in West Valley City.

Prior to being elected mayor, Winder served one term as an at-large member of the West Valley City Council and four years as the city's business development manager.

Winder has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's of business administration from the University of Utah. He also completed an executive leadership program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com

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