1 of 11
FILE - A woman drops off her mail-in ballot at the Sandy City Hall polling location on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — Who will become Provo's first female mayor in its 157-year history?

Will Sandy's longest-serving mayor win a seventh term?

Will Midvale elect Utah's first transgender mayor?

Voters will find out after polls close at 8 p.m. Tuesday — that is, if the races aren't too close to call.

Voters in cities across Utah — except the capital city — will be deciding who will be their mayor for the next four years on Election Day. And while municipal elections don't typically have turnout anywhere near presidential election years, there are some interesting contests happening at the local level.

There's Draper, where incumbent Mayor Troy Walker might lose his seat to a challenging councilwoman, whom he trailed in the primary after controversy for volunteering his city as a site for a homeless resource center.

There's also Murray, where a 16-year former mayor — previously known for his 22-inch handlebar mustache — is returning for a shot at another four years in office.

Here's a look at some of the interesting mayoral races happening along the Wasatch Front:


Provo's former Mayor John Curtis' exit to run for Congress drew a crowded field of candidates for the August primaries: seven men and two women. In a historical moment for Provo, voters chose the two women to advance to the general election.

Michelle Kaufusi

Leading was Provo School Board member Michelle Kaufusi, and in second place was UTA board Vice Chairwoman Sherrie Hall Everett.

"It's an exciting time for Provo," Kaufusi, said, though both she and Everett were eager to talk about issues facing the city, rather than focus on being its first woman mayoral candidates.

Kaufusi, 51, pointing to her position on the school board, said she's the "most qualified and relevant candidate," aiming to "keep Provo strong" by protecting neighborhoods, engaging citizens, and using "strong fiscal management."

"I have a vested interest in keeping Provo unique," Kaufusi said.

Everett, 56, said she decided to run "because I didn't see anybody else in the race that understood (Provo's) issues as well as I did," as a former member of the Provo City Council, with experience on city economic development and land use committees.

Sherrie Hall Everett

"We need somebody who has already been in the trenches for the last 16 years preparing for the growth that will come" in Provo's population, job market and economy, Everett said.

During her campaign, however, Everett faced scrutiny over a $10,000 campaign donation from a construction company tied to a major UTA contractor. Everett said the contribution didn't violate any laws and promised to recuse herself from any votes involving the contractor.


Incumbent Mayor Tom Dolan, 74, has been Sandy's chief for the past 24 years — and he says he's not done yet.

Tom Dolan

"This will be my last term," Dolan said, before adding with a chuckle: "I know I've said that several times before, but I'm serious this time — this will be my last."

Dolan said he wants four more years because "there's a lot of things left to do" with the city's 30-year master plan, as well as other projects such as the downtown revitalization project The Cairns.

"I want to continue to develop the city into a community that has a stable tax base long-term so we can keep the taxes low and provide the quality services our citizens are used to," Dolan said.

But Kurt Bradburn, a state attorney who trailed with 40 percent of the vote to Dolan's 48 percent in the primary, thinks it's time for Sandy to have new blood.

Kurt Bradburn

"Each and every term he always says it's going to be his last, but he turns around and runs again," Brandburn said.

Bradburn, 35, said he decided to challenge Dolan because "I've seen residents be dismissed at every turn, every meeting. … We all just feel like it's time for a change." He said he doesn't think the current administration prioritizes open space like it does high-density housing.

Prior to the primary, Bradburn accused Dolan of failing to disclose $180,000 in past donations from lobbyists and real-estate developers. Dolan said Bradburn was grasping at straws, saying the city recorder only required listing donations from the beginning of the year, but Dolan amended the form to show all contributions since 2013.


Depending on their preferred candidate to replace retired longtime Mayor JoAnn Seghini, Midvale voters might make state history in their 2017 mayoral election.

Robert Hale

Candidate Sophia Hawes-Tingey could become Utah's first transgender mayor if she beats her opponent, former Midvale City Councilman Robert Hale. But that could be a challenge. In the primary, Hawes-Tingey with 25 percent of the vote trailed behind Hale's 30 percent.

Hale, 69, said he's the "most experienced and competent candidate," with more than two decades on the Union Community Council and seven years on the Midvale City Council.

“I want to keep Midvale moving forward. I want to keep it progressive. I want to keep it close to the ideals of the citizens of Midvale and support its needs," Hale said, prioritizing fair representation on east and west sides of the city, smart development, and helping families who leave Midvale's family homeless shelter.

Sophia Hawes-Tingey

But Hawes-Tingey, 52, said she's running "because I feel like the community hasn't been listened to" and she wants to do more on issues including homelessness, drug trafficking, and managing high-density development.

"My primary focus is to make sure that people from the city are represented fairly," she said, while also recognizing she'll have added responsibilities if she becomes the only transgender elected official in the state to become a "respected voice" for not just Midvale, but also for transgender people across the state.


Draper's mayoral race has had its fair share of drama.

Mayor Troy Walker infuriated hundreds of his constituents when he volunteered Draper as a potential site when Salt Lake County was seeking a location to build a third homeless resource center.

Troy Walker

The one-term mayor's challenger, Councilwoman Michele Weeks, then jumped into the race. With 37 percent of the vote in the primary, Walker ran second behind Weeks, who won 45 percent.

"I understand a lot of people are upset at me about that," Walker, 50, said of his homeless site offer, but he added that he thinks Draper residents aren't "one-issue voters" and will "look at my record."

"I think I've done a good job," he said, adding that he wants to see through the development of the prison site. "I know what I'm doing. … I'm going to keep doing the same things I've been doing (with) developing our economy and improving our quality of life."

Michele Weeks

Weeks, 49, said Walker's homeless site offer was just one of many reasons why she's running, believing Draper would do better under a more "transparent" government.

"I believe in transparency … responsible zoning and development with the focus being on the residents of Draper and enhancing our quality of life," Weeks said. "My vision … is to address these items head on to ensure Draper remains the best place to live, work and do business in Utah."

But Weeks hasn't been without controversy, either. Her fellow City Council members filed a complaint against her alleging inappropriate political speech in a city-funded newsletter and personal use of her city email. The complaint was recently dismissed by the state ethics commission, and Weeks disregarded the allegations as "bullying," "political" and "petty."


Murray needs a new leader after Mayor Ted Eyre died this summer from complications of cancer.

To fill the post until the end of the year, the Murray City Council in November appointed one of its own, Councilman D. Blair Camp, to serve as interim mayor — a position he's hoping to keep for the next four years.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Dan Snarr

But Camp, 61, may have some trouble pulling ahead of his opponent, former Mayor Dan Snarr, 68, after he beat him with 40 percent of the vote in the primary.

Known for his 22-inch handlebar mustache (which has since been trimmed), Snarr served four terms as Murray mayor until leaving in 2013.

"When (Eyre) became very sick, a lot of people started calling me and telling me, 'Dan, we need your leadership again. If anybody knows how to get things done, it's you,'" Snarr said.

So, he said, he's back in — wanting to prioritize infrastructure, public safety and revitalizing Murray's downtown. "I don't like politics, but I like projects," he said.

D. Blair Camp

Camp, a retired firefighter, said he has been "intimately involved" in the city's operations over the last four years as a councilman. He said Eyre, before his death, asked Camp if he would consider running to "continue on his vision."

"I think bringing in some fresh perspective is healthy," Camp said. "No one can argue Dan's experience, but I think a different perspective and leadership style will be good for the city."

Blair said public safety "is a big deal for me," wanting to ensure the city's police force is "properly equipped and trained." He said he also wants to prioritize Murray's downtown redevelopment with a new city hall.

Other races

West Valley City, Salt Lake County's second largest city, will have a contest between incumbent Mayor Ron Bigelow, 68, and Councilwoman Karen Lang, 58. Bigelow led in the primary with 39 percent of the vote to Lang's 31 percent.

6 comments on this story

In South Salt Lake, Councilman Mark Kindred, 41, is challenging incumbent Mayor Cherie Wood, 44. In the primary, Wood won 57 percent of the vote while Kindred trailed with 23 percent.

West Jordan incumbent Mayor Kim Rolfe is up against city employee Jim Riding. Rolfe and Riding qualified to the general election, but with narrow margins in a crowded primary. Rolfe had 29 percent and Riding had 26 percent.

In Taylorsville, Mayor Larry Johnson was the only other mayor in Salt Lake County besides Walker who ran second behind his challenger in the primary. City Councilwoman Kristie Steadman Overson won 54 percent while Johnson won 41 percent.