MILLCREEK — Only five days before primary elections, one of the nine candidates running to become Millcreek's first mayor shared some difficult news.
Fred Healey sent an email to Millcreek residents on Thursday announcing that his health has taken a hard turn, complicating his political prospects and creating uncertainly as to whether he will advance to the general election, even if he qualifies past the June 28 primary.
As a result, he even endorsed one of his opponents in case his news changed voters' minds about selecting him for mayor.
"Earlier this week, my doctors informed me that I have an aggressive tumor in one of my kidneys," Healey said in the email. "Because of a combination of factors, they are telling me my energy is going to be signficantly limited."
Healey did not specify, however, whether he planned to continue or cancel his campaign if he advances through the primary.
"We will make a decision on the general election, if necessary, after the primary results are announced next Tuesday," he said.
The timing of his prognosis is "very awkward politically," Healey said, since many voters could have already cast vote-by-mail ballots ahead of the June 28 primary, and the deadline to withdraw his candidacy for the primary passed several weeks ago.
As of Thursday, about 23 percent of Millcreek's nearly 30,000 active voters had already cast ballots, according to Rozan Mitchell, Salt Lake County's elections director.
As for voters that haven't yet cast their ballots, Healey acknowledged his news may have an impact on who they decide to vote for.
"If this announcement changes your mind about your vote for mayor, I recommend you consider Jeff Silvestrini," he said.
Silvestrini and Healey are both members of Millcreek Neighbors for Representative Government, a group that campaigned last year in support of Millcreek's incorporation.
The candidates also running for mayor are: longtime Millcreek resident Edward Frank, entrepreneur Phillip Archer, former state Sen. Scott Howell, community member Becky Moss, local business owner Verdi White, lawyer Craig Cook and activist Jo-Ann Wong, who campaigned against Millcreek's incorporation.
Twenty-four candidates are also running for four City Council seats.
Healey said first and foremost, he wants Millcreek's first years to be a "great success."
"I love our community," Healey said. "I appreciate your best wishes and I hope we all make the best decisions for governing our new city's affairs."
His wife, Jill Healey, also shared a message with Millcreek neighbors Thursday, thanking community members for their support.
"We have both put our whole heart and soul into this campaign since January when we signed on for the challenge," she said. "We have met so many new friends through this experience. We are so thankful for the valiant people who are involved in the local democratic process, not for their own benefit but for the benefit of their neighbors and our new city. May you each be blessed for your service."
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