Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Ben McAdams' bipartisan message and high-energy campaigning carried the Democrat past the surge of Republican enthusiasm for presidential candidate Mitt Romney to a narrow victory in the Salt Lake County mayoral race.
With all precincts reporting, McAdams held 54.9 percent of the vote to 45.1 percent for Mark Crockett, who conceded the race about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
McAdams said the nine-point margin was a wider victory than he had been expecting. He attributed the victory to his bipartisan style and county voters' willingness to split their tickets across party lines.
"Many people voted for Romney because they like his style of leadership, but they crossed over," McAdams said. "It's refreshing to see the people of Utah really are sophisticated in their choices."
McAdams holds on to the seat Democrat Peter Corroon has occupied for eight years, pushing past Crockett, a corporate consultant and one-time county council member.
The Democrat's well-manned and bright orange campaign consistently outraised and outspent Crockett throughout the race. As poll data showed the race tightening, supporters took to street corners during every day of early voting, and a considerable amount of McAdams' war chest was poured into TV spots championing his bipartisan approach to politics.
The message resonated with enough voters to split Republican tickets and draw attention from independent voters, a support group that pollster Dan Jones said was McAdams' only hope for victory.
Crockett called his run for county mayor "inspiring" despite negative moments, and he now looks forward to resuming a non-political life.
"At this point, I'm planning to go back to work tomorrow," Crockett said. "I'm happy to help out now as so many people are. Now I'm going back to my day job."
Early polling conducted by Dan Jones and Associates for the Deseret News and KSL showed Crockett with a slight advantage in September, though the three-point lead was still within the margin of error and 21 percent of voters were still undecided.
New polls released last week revealed the advantage had shifted to McAdams, but the race was still too close to predict.
McAdams said education was a prime concern among voters as he crisscrossed the county campaigning. He promised to step up the county's support of after-school programs and community learning centers.
He also maintained that his levelheaded management style would be key to facilitating cooperation between county organizations in order to cut costs and increase efficiency.
Jim Bradley, a Democrat and the incumbent in the race, won a slim victory over challenger Joseph Demma, 54 percent to 45.9 percent with all precincts reporting.
During his campaign against Demma, Bradley emphasized the need for stability on a changing Salt Lake County Council as Mayor Peter Corroon vacates his seat.
Demma, on the other hand, argued on behalf of putting new energy into the council through new leaders. He is a communications director for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, with his political experience including serving as chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert and on senior staff for Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.
Michael Jensen, chief of the Unified Fire Authority, defended his County Council District 2 seat, which he has held for four terms. Jensen, a Republican, beat Democrat Brent Goodfellow 56.5 percent to 43.4 percent with all precincts reporting.
Jensen has been the only council member to live in unincorporated Salt Lake County.
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