The Salt Lake County political scene has been buzzing of late of news out of the County Mayor's race. It all started earlier this week, when St. George (UT) State Senator Steve Urquhart openly endorsed Salt Lake City State Senator Ben McAdams (a Democrat) in the County Mayors race on his personal blog. His reasoning matches what a lot of Salt Lake County residents have already seen. Two days later, Senator Urquhart posts the following.
When I wrote that Ben McAdams is the better choice for Salt Lake County Mayor, I just wanted to state my piece on Ben and let it be. I didn’t want to say anything at all about Mark Crockett—and I didn’t. No big deal. But then Crockett had his campaign manager call to harass and threaten me for endorsing Ben. So, I’ll go ahead and share an aspect of my thinking, which Crockett and his campaign clearly ratified with the nutty, unhinged phone call.
I do think Ben McAdams is outstanding. That stands alone. On the other side of the ticket, I simply don’t think that Mark Crockett is stable enough to be county mayor. He can’t handle disagreement in a mature way.
My interest in Salt Lake politics started with Rocky Anderson. I thought Rocky hurt the capital city and the State, by being unnecessarily polarizing, hostile and emotionally immature. Salt Lake County (and the State of Utah) doesn’t need a Rocky from the right, and yesterday’s unbridled call has me further convinced that would be the case with Crockett.
Now taken on it's own, it's a he said/he said situation, unless you follow either Sen Urquhart or Crockett's campaign manager, Randy O'Hara, on Twitter where you saw additional back and forth between the two men.
Two days after Sen. Urquhart's second post, Utah Policy Daily ran the following story.
Sources tell UtahPolicy.com that Republican Salt Lake County Mayor Mark Crockett’s campaign is threatening reprisals against the Republican mayors who endorsed his Democratic opponent Ben McAdams.
Several Republicans who asked to remain anonymous because they feared reprisal from Crockett’s campaign and party officials say Crockett plans to form a political action committee to fund opponents of those mayors in next year’s municipal elections. Others have been told they may be censured by the party for throwing their support behind a Democrat.
One mayor who endorsed McAdams says party has nothing to do with her support. West Jordan’s Melissa Johnson says, before the campaign started, McAdams was the only one of the candidates who sat down with her to find out the needs of her city and how the county could help address those needs.
“This isn’t Democrats vs. Republicans. Ben wanted to know the needs of my community and how the county could address those needs. Mark never talked to me. Ben has supported things that helped our community while Mark supported things that hurt our community.”
Johnson, who is not running for another term, would not comment on whether she had been the target of retaliation for her support of McAdams.
Emphasis mine. This jives with what I have heard out of the Magna Town Council. The Magna Town Council (whose President is a registered Republican) has not heard anything from Crockett during the race.
Crockett campaign manager Randy O’Hara dismissed the talk of reprisals against Republicans supporting McAdams as nothing more than “October electioneering.”
“Anyone who says our campaign is threatening these mayors is lying. I don’t know where they’re getting this stuff, because it’s awfully creative.”
Well now you have a Utah State Senator saying this, which tends to lend an air of believability. Senator Urquhart does not live in Salt Lake County. There is no way for Crockett, his campaign manager or the Salt Lake County GOP to retaliate or help Urquhart in the future.
Mr. Crockett needs to quit worrying about what someone outside of the district says about him and worry more about what voters IN the county say - and right now a LOT of Republicans are looking at Ben McAdams. The fact that Crockett's campaign has yet to talk to the communities that he will need to work with (should he become mayor) to see what their needs are and the fact that his campaign seems to think that the county ends somewhere near 5600 W (hint - there is a whole lot more to the county than the east bench guys) is going to end up hurting him in the long run.
The Crockett Campaign has 39 days to turn this around. Will they even try?