Dave Watson isn't the only Democrat who party leaders would like out of the race for the two-year Salt Lake County Commission seat. They have also been trying to talk B.T. Price into withdrawing.
Price is the only other Democrat who filed for the race. But if he remains, Democrats face the possibility of nominating Price - whose family owns a tavern.And Price is far from a mainstream Democrat. During an interview Thursday, Price talked about such wide-ranging topics as his belief in polygamy and reincarnation; his memories as a church missionary 54 years ago; jokes about the kind of women he hires to work in his bowling alley; and pride in being a member of the Republican Presidential Task Force.
"I'm an unusual Democrat," Price, 78, admitted. "But it's my ball game now after the stupid stunt Watson pulled."
He said Watson should pull out of the race because of his arrest. And because Price is the only other Democrat who properly filed, he said the nomination should be his. He said his phone hasn't stopped ringing with calls from delegates to Saturday's Salt Lake County Democratic convention who agree.
"But party officials have been talking to me. They want me out. But why should I drop out?" Price said. "They tell me I should do it to be a loyal Democrat. But I'm not dropping out. I'm in this to the end. I'll be a write-in candidate if I need to."
He doesn't expect to survive Saturday's convention because of opposition from party leaders. "The delegates are owned by the system. They are just sheep," he said.
Price expects the Democratic hierarchy to try to have County Public Works Director John Hiskey run for the commission somehow instead. "But Hiskey should have filed on time."
When Price discusses his background and qualifications for office, it gives some insights into why Democratic leaders are not enthused about his campaign.
Price's campaign flier features a picture of him as an LDS Church missionary in England in 1934. But it also includes a paragraph saying his wife "was enticed to Utah polygamy as practiced by Brigham Young." Price said he is not a polygamist but believes in polygamy. He is still a member of the LDS Church but isinactive.
Price added that he also believes in reincarnation. "I've lived before."
The "long version" of his campaign flier also features a reproduction of his membership card for the Republican Presidential Task Force. He also claims to have tried to file for office before as a Republican, a Democrat and a Libertarian.
After he announced his candidacy for the commission, he told a Deseret News reporter that he likes to hire women at his bowling alley who have shapely figures and do not wear bras. When asked about that Thursday, he said it would help business _ then said he shouldn't have said that and was just joking.
Price owns the Maltair bowling lanes at 170 S. 10th West. Business licenses list his son-in-law as owner of the connecting Side Pocket Lounge, but Price said the tavern "is a family business. A bowling alley isn't worth much unless you also have a bar with it."
Price owns the Euclid Arms apartments but failed to obtain a required business license for them. When asked why, Price said he didn't think it was a fair requirement, and complained that city fire regulations were designed to eliminate low-cost housing.
Price has run for numerous offices before but has never won. In the 1987 race for Salt Lake mayor, Price's name was stricken from the ballot because he failed to file timely financial statements. He also ran for mayor in 1985 but only received a handful of votes in the primary. Price also has lost races the City Council and Legislature.
Price claims one reason party officials don't want him in the race is that he knows too much about corruption in city, county and state government. He often attends City Council meetings and quizzes the mayor and council on a variety of topics. He also annually appeals the county's tax assessments on his properties, claiming they are inflated.
On a positive note, Price said he understands the poor better than many elected officials because he won't evict poor people in his apartments who can't afford to pay rent. "I help the poor, widows and the afflicted."