Mark Crockett, Mike Winder headed to GOP primary in county mayor's race

Published: Saturday, April 14 2012 6:28 p.m. MDT

Nolan Kerr talks to Dan Liljenquist, right, at the Salt Lake County GOP convention at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 14, 2012.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Read more: Decision 2012: Utah political races, candidate and delegate information, coverage

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Salt Lake County Councilman Mark Crockett will face West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder in the June primary, GOP county delegates decided Saturday at their convention.

The pair were the top vote-getters in the first round of balloting, but Crockett fell short in the second round of winning the 60 percent support needed to avoid a primary election.

The final results, announced some three hours after delegates turned in their ballots, was 58 percent for Crockett and 42 percent for Winder.

"Another carton of milk — 2 percent — would have been nice," said Crockett, who narrowly missed winning the nomination outright. "We'll take it as a vote of confidence."

Winder said he was excited for the opportunity to still be in the race. "This gives us a few more months to talk about the issues with the voters," he said, adding a primary will make them both stronger candidates come November.

Said Crockett, "There are some meaningful differences between the two of us."

Eliminated in the first round of voting were Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove, former Congressman Merrill Cook, Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott and Larry Decker.

Crockett told delgates he would put in place a transition plan for the county focusing on core services, including incarceration, mental health and drug treatment.

"To transform is not easy," said Crockett, a management consultant. "This is not 'learn-on-the-job' kind of work. But it is what I do for a living." 

Winder, who was nominated by his 12-year-old daughter Jessica as a candidate who is "nice and listens," called himself a limited government conservative.

"It would have been easier for me to continue as mayor of West Valley, but I'm concerned about our future," Winder said, promising to fight for local decision making and economic growth.

He said the improvements to Valley Fair Mall show how his policies work. "We need to grow the tax base, not raise our taxes," he said.

Snelgrove had touted his record since being elected to the Salt Lake County Council in 2010, part of the new GOP majority.

"Good news, taxpayer help has arrived," Snelgrove said, telling the delegates the council "has taken a conservative turn you can be proud of."

He said his name recognition would help Republicans win the mayor's office in November. Outgoing Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, a Democrat, is not seeking reelection.

Cook, a frequent candidate for a number of offices, warned that the county is "in grave danger. We are in danger of being taxed to death."

He said he would stop what he called outrageous spending, describing the county's proposed participation in a convention hotel as "socialism, pure and simple."

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