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Recount likely to follow election canvass in GOP county mayor race

Published: Monday, July 9 2012 7:01 p.m. MDT

West Valley Mayor Mike Winder at his campaign headquarters Tuesday, June 26, 2012, in West Valley City. Winder is behind by 239 votes, but the winner of the GOP primary for Salt Lake County mayor won't be known until more than 7,000 outstanding ballots are counted and presented to the county's board of canvassers July 10.

Tom Smart, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Mark Crockett has spent the past two weeks catching up on work and enjoying time with his wife and two daughters.

Family time also has filled Mike Winder's schedule since the June 26 Republican primary.

"We've been getting campaign signs down that we'll either put back up in the fall or not be putting up," Winder said.

Winder trailed Crockett in the GOP race for Salt Lake County mayor by 239 votes on primary election night, but there were roughly 7,900 vote-by-mail and provisional ballots yet to be verified and counted by the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office.

By noon Tuesday, all ballots will be counted and presented hours later to the Salt Lake County Council for approval. But it's unlikely a winner will officially be declared until later this week, after county elections officials count ballots for a second time.

Both Republican candidates say they likely will request a recount if the race is decided by 724 votes — one vote per precinct — or less. The winner will face Democrat Ben McAdams in the Nov. 6 general election.

"I think, after having come this far, whoever is down should go ahead and file for the recount," Crockett said Monday. "After all the energy that campaigns have put in and contributors have put in, it just seems like due diligence."

"It's important that every vote gets counted and that we make sure, especially in these close races, that (the election) has been performed to the utmost accuracy," Winder added.

The losing candidate has seven days to request a recount if the margin of defeat is one vote per precinct or less. Both Winder and Crockett said they wouldn't wait around to make such a request.

"If we do ask for a recount, we would ask immediately so the process can continue as efficiently as possible," Winder said.

Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said a recount would take about two days to complete, meaning a winner in the race could be declared as soon as Thursday. However, the County Council has to convene again as the Board of Canvassers to certify the results, and that could push a conclusion to the race to early next week.

Crockett said he doesn't believe a recount will change the outcome of the race. He believes the results announced at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Salt Lake County Government Center will stand.

"I'm looking forward to a decision (Tuesday)," Crockett said. "It should allow us to move forward and do the fundraising that we need to do."

With the Republicans' campaigns effectively on hold, McAdams has made the most of the past two weeks as the only candidate sure to be on the ballot in November.

McAdams, who represents Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake and West Valley City in the Utah State Senate, marched in three holiday parades last week and chatted with county residents at several city celebrations.

"From our point of view, this is about communicating my message and my views for the future of Salt Lake County to voters," he said. "I don't know that it really matters who we're running against."

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com

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