The two Democratic candidates for Salt Lake County Commission are divided on how to react to Commissioner Dave Watson's refusal to resign.
But both are uncertain as to how Watson, who recently pleaded guilty to drunken driving and misdemeanor drug charges, will affect their own campaigns.Riverton Mayor Dale Gardiner, handpicked by Democrats to replace Watson in the race for his two-year commission seat, said Watson has no credibility and should resign.
"There is a credibility problem with everything he (atson) does," Gardiner said in an interview Thursday.
However, Jim Bradley, the other Democrat seeking a commission seat, is less eager to call for Watson's resignation.
"I've got real mixed feelings about it," Bradley said. "I want to give every opportunity to Dave, but I really don't want Dave's presence to get in the way of my campaign."
Both are wondering whether Watson's arrest will dominate conversations once the campaigning begins.
Watson, meanwhile, is sticking to an earlier statement that his obligations to his party ended when he agreed to drop out of the race for re-election. He is weary of questions surrounding the incident and says he wants only to complete his term with dignity.
"Dale should worry more about the goals he has for the county and running to defeat Tom Shimizu than worrying what I do for the next 51/2 months," Watson said.
Gardiner hinted from the start of his campaign that Watson was a liability to his campaign. Now he is using stronger language.
"At first I felt he (atson) ought to have time to put his affairs in order," Gardiner said. "I think that time has elapsed now."
And, although he obviously disagrees with people who question the way he was allowed to replace Watson one month after filing deadline, Gardiner agrees with one of their arguments - if Watson is mentally unfit to run, he must be unfit to serve in office.
Watson relied on a letter from a doctor at Wasatch Canyons Hospital to get around laws forbidding candidates to be replaced after the filing deadline. The letter said Watson could develop a serious mental disorder if he stayed in the race.
"People want him (atson) to explain how it (ocaine) came into his possession," Gardiner said. "He's never explained that."
Watson was arrested early in the morning of May 15 after a South Salt Lake police officer noticed Watson's car was being driven erratically.