To see the first post in this series, click here.
This year the citizens of Salt Lake City had the opportunity to choose who will represent them in District 2 (Glendale, Poplar Grove), 4 (Downtown), and 6 (University of Utah, East Bench).
We were ensured of at least one new face, thanks to District 6 Councilman Dave Buhler’s run for mayor. However District 2 and 4 were heated battles where incumbency went up against strong candidates.
Starting from East to West; District 6 proved to be a rather interesting race with a bigger margin of victory than I would have expected in the area.
I must admit that, for whatever reason, I did not follow this race all that closely. None the less the contest between J.T. Martin and Roger McConkie was notable for how low key it was. If there was any race that was utterly overshadowed by the mayor’s race it was this one. No doubt this was due to the fact that there was no incumbent to challenge and, therefore, no way to get support other than through old fashion on the ground campaigning; the result being that people outside the district have no real reason for following the race.
That being said, I am happy to see Martin victorious in this race, beating McConkie 53 to 46 percent. Martin strikes me as a socially liberal, fiscally conservative who will provide a voice of reason if and when the council gets a little out of hand. We shall see, but Martin should provide balance to the council.
District 4 was probably the most interesting race to follow. Early on this race was bound to be contentious with five people running before the primary, one of whom, Nancy Saxton, the incumbent, previously sought the office of mayor until it became painfully clear that she could not win.
From early on I was rooting for Luke Garrott, however for a while near the end I was concerned that Garrott’s campaign was floundering and may not be able to pull it off. Nancy Saxton has always struck me as the “Crazy Cat Lady” but she is smart enough to pull off another victory. Garrott’s on the ground campaign proved to be decisive – trouncing Saxton 57 to 42 percent. These numbers are close to a mandate and Garrott, with his strong liberal leaning, has the wind to his back as the city moves further and further to the left.
Finally, District 2. I wish I could say that I was surprised to see a victory for moderate conservative Van Turner, however anyone who knows anything about the West Side knows that it is liberal; problem is the West Side is filled with people who don’t vote. I have said it before, it is not so much that West Side Councilmember’s represent their area as they represent those who vote in their area. Michael Clara’s bid was slightly uphill from the start, however it was not insurmountable. I am not familiar with his on the ground campaign, however I would be willing to bet that a little more time spent identifying and turning out voters may have turned things around.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that Turner is a bad councilman; I would just prefer that he represented his area a little more. The irony, of course, is that in order to be reelected you need to appeal to those who vote and not those who live in your area.
Next time: Statewide races.