"Low-key," "polite," "almost genteel" are the descriptions commonly heard about the race between Democrat Ella Anderson and Republican Margene Isom for Davis County clerk.

Both are making their first forays into politics, Isom from her managerial and administrative career in the savings and loan industry and Anderson after retiring from 34 years of federal employment.And they both have only good things to say about each other, even after numerous joint appearances at meetings and meet-the-candidate sessions.

"Mrs. Isom is a fine, sweet person, a very worthy competitor," Anderson said of her opponent.

"She's a very nice person, I like her, and we've run a very clean campaign. I've enjoyed it," Isom said.

The clerk's race is complex, starting with May, when incumbent Michael Allphin resigned and was replaced by Glen E. Saunders, then a county commissioner who not only pulled out of his commission race but also resigned from the commission to be appointed interim clerk, intending to run in November.

But Isom didn't care for the handling of the resignation and appointment and challenged her fellow Republican, beating him in the September primary and putting two political novices into the race.

The clerk's job will change drastically after Jan. 1 when the district court functions will be transferred from the clerk's office to the state court administrator.

That will leave the county clerk and one assistant to oversee elections, register voters, issue passports and marriage licenses, and carry out the remainder of the office's legally defined duties.

And that's where the two candidates show their differences.

Anderson said she has been studying the state statutes that define the clerk's job, and it is a bigger one, with more responsibilities, than just being a secretary to the county commissioners.

The county voting district lines need to be redrawn, she said, and the county clerk should become more active in the job of protecting battered women and children, one of the job's legal duties.

The county needs a shelter for battered women, a rape crisis center and other facilities and services for which the clerk is legally responsible, Anderson maintains.

Isom sees the job as working and coordinating with the county commissioners, more of a secretarial-administrative position. Overseeing elections is the clerk's biggest job, Isom said, along with carrying out county policy.

"I feel with my experience in the administrative area, I can be an asset to the county commissioners and, beyond that, the voters and taxpayers in Davis County," she said.

Neither candidate supports the tax-rollback initiatives, agreeing the cuts would be too drastic, but both agree the support the measures have drawn shows that the public is demanding tax reductions and leaner, more-efficient government.