Dale F. Gardiner is finally the official Democratic candidate for the two-year Salt Lake County Commission seat.
Third Circuit Judge Pat B. Brian granted Gardiner complete relief Thursday from a petition filed by Joseph Stumph and B.T. Price that had sought Gardiner's disqualification as a replacement for incumbent Democrat Dave Watson. Democrats replaced Watson with Gardiner on the ballot after Watson's guilty plea to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge and a misdemeanor attempted possession of drugs charge. Watson withdrew from the race citing a mental disability.In granting the petition's dismissal, Brian said the petitioners failed to provide evidence that Watson was not suffering from a mental disability when he resigned from the race on May 20. State statute allows a political party to name a replacement candidate after the normal filing deadline if the original candidate withdraws due to a physical or mental disability. Brian said a letter signed by Dr. Michael Lowry attesting to Watson's condition at the time was not contested and therefore meets the provisions of the law.
Price filed as a Democratic candidate in the race and was defeated by a more than 9-1 margin in the delegate voting at the convention.