Murray • Backed by a half dozen Republican city officials, Democrat Ben McAdams portrayed himself Wednesday as the “middle-of-the-road” candidate to be Salt Lake County’s next mayor.
He did so in a news conference from the center of the county — on the median of Vine Street in Murray, a city that has long touted itself as the hub of the valley, between State and Main streets.
“I’m sure the symbolism is clear,” said McAdams, 37, a state senator seeking to succeed retiring Democrat Peter Corroon as county mayor. “We’re in the middle because that’s what county government is about. We’re not on the east or west side, not north or south. Good government governs from the center.”
His Republican opponent is former County Councilman Mark Crockett, 46, a Holladay businessman. McAdams highlighted the support he has secured from six Republican mayors in the valley plus Murray’s Dan Snarr, an independent. The GOP mayors are Russ Wall, Taylorsville; Tom Dolan, Sandy; Melissa Johnson, West Jordan; Bill Applegarth, Riverton; Cherie Wood, South Salt Lake; and Dirk Timothy, Bluffdale.
“We can’t shape the future of Salt Lake County if we don’t work together — Democrats, Republicans and independents,” McAdams said.
In response, Crockett said he also “will be perfectly able to work with mayors and all of the folks around the county. Most issues at the county are not partisan, so we should be able to work with everyone quite well.”
Wall had supported Crockett’s opponent in the Republican primary, West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder. Although Winder quickly backed his adversary after the election canvass confirmed Crockett had won a close contest, Wall said he supports McAdams as the better candidate to “put aside partisan politics” and collaborate with city officials.
“It’s extremely important for the county mayor to have that same philosophy and work well with both parties,” he said, adding his endorsement of McAdams was not a knock against Crockett.
McAdams added that his relationships with the Republican mayors were formed long before Crockett beat Winder in the primary, both as a legislator and as a local-government liaison for Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, a Democrat.
While he and the elected officials were not always on the same side, McAdams said, they were able to “work together through thick and thin.”
That kind of cooperation will be needed as the county addresses complicated issues, such as the possibility of creating wall-to-wall cities, said Sandy’s Dolan. He called McAdams “the guy who will find the solutions for us.”