Salt Lake County Commissioner Bart Barker feels like he has spent the campaign season running against two opponents.
Jim Bradley, the Democrat trying to unseat Barker, a Republican, has had the ongoing support of Democrat Randy Horiuchi, who is running against Commissioner M. Tom Shimizu.Bradley and Horiuchi have held joint press conferences where they have attacked Barker and the County Commission as a whole. During much of the campaign, Horiuchi has taken a higher profile in the Barker race than Barker's real opponent.
"There's still a lot of confusion with people, even the ones who know me, about who my opponent is," Barker said Friday. "There have been a lot of confusing elements in the campaign." Before the September primary, Barker was even invited to debate Horiuchi until the debate sponsor was told the two men were not
in the same race, according to Barker's administrative assistant.
Perhaps Barker's greatest defense in the name and races mix-up, he said, has been having a campaign worker who is also named Jim Bradley.
Bradley thinks the race isn't all that confused. "I think it's pretty well shaped up. I think the vast majority of the people know I'm running against Barker."
was a candidate for the County Commission just two years ago when he ran unsuccessfully against County Commission Chairman Mike Stewart. Bradley won the reputation for running the most expensive commission race on record in Salt Lake County by spending more than $97,000 in the race against Stewart. But spending is down this time, Bradley said, even though he will likely outspend Barker. Barker has spent about $45,000 and expects to be outspent by Bradley, who anticipates he will spend at least $54,000.
A Deseret News/KSL poll conducted the first week of October showed Barker ahead of Bradley 41-30 percent, making the race closer than the Shimizu-Horiuchi race which had Shimizu ahead 52-29 percent.
Bradley and Horiuchi have a common goal of unseating two Republicans and tipping the balance of party influence on the all-Republican commission. Both Democrats have been especially critical of Barker's administration over the Salt Palace and recent controversy involving compensatory-time payments, expansion plans and new private management of the facility.
Barker's firing of Salt Palace and Fine Arts Director John Rosenthal over the comp-time issue and his rehiring three days later is an example of the commissioner's mismanagement of the Salt Palace, Bradley said.
Barker has used Bradley's involvement in cold fusion to characterize the candidate as an opportunist. In April 1989, Bradley spent $20 to register the business name of "Cold Fusion" with the state Department of Commerce, 14 days after electrochemists B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced the discovery of solid-state fusion. Bradley later sold non-exclusive rights to use the name to the University of Utah for $2,000.
Bradley has also attacked the county's tendency to close meetings and make important decisions outside of public view and said he would work to make sure the public had greater access to county government if he were elected to the commission.
Barker has said Bradley would have a better understanding of the county's debate process if he took the time to attend more of the commission's meetings.
Barker said Friday that he plans to spend time during the last few days of the campaign replacing some of more than 900 campaign lawn signs that have disappeared recently, while Bradley said he plans to spend $8,000 to $10,000 on a weekend media campaign.
Barker's campaign is endorsed by the Utah Public Employees Association while Bradley has received significant campaign contributions from the state AFL-CIO and other local labor organizations. Bradley also received $2,000 from Wayne Owens' congressional campaign.