Attorney Sid Sandberg has become the sole Republican candidate for the 2-year Utah County Commission seat this fall, following the withdrawal Tuesday of a second Republican candidate from the race.
Spring Lake resident Rex Behling said his campaign "got off on the wrong foot" and he withdrew because of personal reasons. Incumbent Gary Anderson withdrew Friday, citing lack of time with his family and flak he has taken over the Timpanogos Community Mental Health Center scandal.With Sandberg as the GOP's sole candidate, the Republican Party breaks a gentlemen's agreement between political parties that divides commission representation geographically. The agreement stipulates that the 2-year seat up for grabs this fall be filled by a candidate from the south part of the county.
The Democratic candidate is Glen Hawkins of Benjamin.
Sandberg, from Provo, said the agreement has been ignored in the past and that compliance with the guideline isn't that important. GOP County Chairman Steve Shallenberger agrees.
"I'm not sure where the gentlemen's agreement came from. It's nice, but it's not a state law. It's not a local statute, and it's not a written agreement," he said.
"It's more of a guideline. We're not breaking any rules," he said, adding, "No one can cast stones in the political process."
Shallenberger said county residents benefit more from having good people in office rather than by always complying with the letter of the gentlemen's agreement.
"I think we ought to go after the best candidate," he said. "It's more important that we have a good candidate living in Provo than a bad candidate living in the south part of the county."
Or no candidate at all, as would be the case if Sandberg dropped out of the race because of his Provo residency.
Shallenberger said the party has ruled out launching a write-in campaign for additional GOP contenders. After speaking with the attorney general's office, he said, party leaders decided the write-in requirements are too stringent.
"I don't think we're going to pursue that," he said. "Sid is a good candidate, and I think he'll hold his own in the election. He'll add good balance and a fresh approach" to the commission.
Shallenberger said, however, that he tried to convince Anderson to reconsider.
"But I think all the bridges are burned. That one's history," he said of Anderson's candidacy.
Anderson, questioned about his decision to withdraw, replied, "Ain't no one going to talk me out of it."