Mark Crockett inches ahead but recount coming in GOP county mayor's race

Published: Tuesday, June 26 2012 11:32 p.m. MDT

Mark Crockett thanks supports at his home after 100 percent of the vote came in and he carried a narrow lead as he runs in a primary race against West Valley Mayor Mike Winder in for the GOP Salt Lake County mayor's race Tuesday, June 26, 2012, in Holladay, Utah.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Read more: Complete coverage of Utah primary election races

Related article: GOP Salt Lake County mayor's race outcome on hold until July 10

SALT LAKE CITY — Primary election day came and went, and Ben McAdams still doesn't know who he'll face in the race for Salt Lake County mayor.

Mark Crockett led fellow Republican Mike Winder by just 239 votes when the last of Salt Lake County precincts reported — 34,481 to 34,242. Provisional and absentee ballots also remain to be tabulated, which could alter the outcome.

Because the margin of victory is less than one vote per precinct (724), Winder has the option of requesting a recount. And he said he plans to do just that.

"Yes, we will be requesting a recount," he said from his campaign headquarters in West Valley City.

"It's been a great election day, regardless of the outcome," Winder said.

Crockett held a slim lead throughout the night, leading by as much as 548 votes with 37 percent of precincts reporting.

"It's amazing how it can be a 300- or 400-vote difference for such a long time," he said, surrounded by family, friends and supporters at his Holladay home.

The GOP candidates praised each other on a hard-fought campaign.

"We expected a tight race," Crockett said.

Winder's name recognition as West Valley City mayor and part of the Winder Dairy family presented Crockett with some early hurdles, he said.

"But we feel like we've been making progress every week," Crockett said. "It looks like we might just pull it off, but it's too soon to tell."

Winder said he remained "cautiously optimistic" throughout the night as numbers trickled in.

"We have no regrets," he said. "We're thrilled with the campaign we ran. We did everything we know how to do, and we're willing to deal with what the totals tell us."

McAdams issued a statement Tuesday night, congratulating Winder and Crockett and their supporters "for their hard work and enthusiastic dedication to our community."

"I look forward to learning the results of the primary election following the completion of the official canvas," he said. "In the meantime, I will continue my efforts to communicate my vision for the future of Salt Lake County to both Republican and Democratic voters."

The Republican candidates took aim during the campaign at Salt Lake County's spending habits the past eight years under outgoing Mayor Peter Corroon, a Democrat. And both touted their respective backgrounds as making them more qualified than the other to trim the county budget.

For more than 20 years, Crockett has worked as a consultant helping businesses improve management and cut costs. The county, he says, is another organization that needs fixing.

Crockett has outlined a month-by-month plan for reforming the county budget, listing problems with the status quo and proposing solutions.

Winder points to his service as West Valley City mayor and as a member of the City Council as evidence he can improve the quality of life for county residents.

The county provides key services for its most needy residents through its aging services, mental and behavioral health and youth programs. Winder has said the county must work to find efficiencies to improve those programs to better serve the county, without raising taxes.

A good way to do that is by growing the tax base, he said, and he points to his track record for doing that.

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