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Crowded Salt Lake County mayor's contest among races that will thin in Saturday's partisan conventions

Parties will pick 1 or 2 candidates for key position

Published: Thursday, April 12 2012 5:17 p.m. MDT

• Mark Crockett is a management consultant who served one term on the Salt Lake County Council, from 2005-2008, before being unseated by Democrat Jani Iwamoto.

• Larry Decker is an internal auditor in the Salt Lake County Auditor's Office and the only candidate in the race without previous experience in elected office.

"With that many candidates, it's often hard to predict the (convention) dynamics," Burbank said. "They might end up with a consensus candidate, but my guess is you'll see two candidates who are strong."

Among county residents generally, Burbank sees the office of county mayor as somewhat confusing because so many residents live in the boundaries of a city that also has a mayor.

But inside political circles, the office has a high profile because it is an executive position with governance of a large population with diverse and high-profile issues including taxes, mental health services, air quality, water quality, and arts and recreation.

"It can also be a big stepping stone if you are thinking about running for governor or something like that," Burbank said.

Spending in the race so far shows the candidates understand that, as of April 5 pre-convention financial disclosures. The two Democrats, so far, have raised more than twice as much — and spent more than twice as much — as all six Republicans.

McAdams is in the lead, raising $135,659 and spending $101,895. Romero is next, raising $131,013 and spending $86,350 so far.

Winder is third among the entire field, and top among Republicans, raising $50,759 and spending $43,914. He is followed closely in fundraising by Crockett, who has raised $49,580 and spent $32,391; Snelgrove has raised $10,306 and spent just $2,855; Cook has raised $7,738 and spent $7,134; Ott has raised $3,673 and spent all of it; Decker has declared he will run a low-cost campaign, spending less than $2,000.

Salt Lake County Council Races

Deligates will also narrow the field in the race for Iwamoto's District 4 seat on the County Council. There are four Democrats: Jeff Hatch, the former Salt Lake County Auditor; Sam Granato, a former U.S. Senate candidate and former Utah Liquor Control Commission member; Paul Nielson, an attorney for Salt Lake City; and Deb Henry, an Occupy SLC activist. Republicans are Craig Ward, owner of an accounting services business; Rainer Huck, who describes himself as a public lands activist; and Missy W. Larsen, daughter of former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson and sister to County Council member Jenny Wilson, both Democrats.

GOP delegates will winnow the field of candidates challenging Democrat Jim Bradley for the at-large seat on the council. They are Joseph M. Demma, communications director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services and 2010 campaign manager for Gov. Gary Herbert; Stephen M. "Steve" Harmsen, a former county councilman; and Melvin Nimer, president of the Utah Log Cabin Republicans.

Salt Lake, Utah County legislative races

Only one Salt Lake County legislative race, for Senate District 8, has multiple candidates from both parties going into Saturday's conventions. The GOP candidates are Lee Brinton, Brian Shiozawa and Jaren Davis. The Democrats are Ty McCartney and Josie Valdez, wife of Rep. Mark Wheatley, D-Murray.

Other Democrats going head-to-head in Salt Lake County legislative races are all after House seats: Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake, and challenger Richard Goldberger in the race for District 24; Rep. Brian Doughty, D-Salt Lake, and challenger Angela Romero in the race for District 26; and Rep. Neal Hendrickson, D-West Valley, and challenger Liz Muniz in the race for District 36.

On the GOP side, besides Senate District 8 that intra-party challenges for Senate seats are Rep. Wayne Harper, R-West Jordan, and challenger Brandon Baker in the race for District 6; and Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, challenged by Aleta Andersen Taylor in District 10.

In Utah County, only Republicans are involved with in-party challenges for Utah County Senate seats. Diedre Henderson and Glen W. Roberts are in the contest for Senate District 7; Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, and Rep. Craig Frank, R-Cedar Hills, in the race for District 14. Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, is being challenged by Andrew Holmes in District 16.

In House races, Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, is being challenged by Dana Layton and Jacob A.J. Siebach in District 60.

E-mail: sfidel@desnews.com Twitter: SteveFidel

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