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A Republican Wilson seeks seat on County Council
Politics » Daughter bucks well-known family’s Dem legacy.
First Published Mar 19 2012 05:00 pm • Last Updated Mar 27 2012 09:31 am

Another of longtime Democratic leader Ted Wilson’s daughters is running for office.

But this one is a Republican — now.

At a glance

Salt Lake County Council candidates

At large seat C

Jim Bradley (D), incumbent

Joseph Demma (R)

Steve Harmsen (R)

Melvin Nimer (R)

District 2

Michael Jensen (R), incumbent

Brent Goodfellow (D)

Merrill Humberg (D)

District 4

Sam Granato (D)

Jeffrey Hatch (D)

Deborah Henry (D)

Paul Nielson (D)

Rainer Huck (R)

Missy Larsen (R)

Craig Ward (R)

District 6

Max Burdick (R), incumbent

Paul Recanzone (D)

Source: Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office

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Missy Wilson Larsen is one of three GOP candidates in the race to replace Democrat Jani Iwamoto on the Salt Lake County Council representing District 4 in the east-central portion of the Salt Lake Valley.

"I am my father’s daughter as a problem solver," said Larsen, once an active Democrat who became disenchanted with the political process, started a business and found that, over time, her stance on issues had become Republican.

"I believe in working both sides, but I tend to be a little more conservative in solving problems," she said. "The good thing about the Wilsons is that we get along in spite of political differences."

Her sister, Jenny, was an at-large Democrat on the County Council from 2005 until 2011 who opted against seeking a second term.

During much of that time, Larsen did freelance marketing for a number of companies and has worked extensively with the Utah Refugee Coalition. Before that, she founded The Intrepid Group, a Salt Lake City public relations company, and spent time as press secretary for the late Democratic Rep. Bill Orton.

Larsen will compete with two other candidates for the Republican nomination: Rainer Huck, former president of the Utah Shared Access Alliance and a longtime opponent of wilderness designations, and Craig Ward, a small-business owner who provides financial and accounting services to other small businesses.

Four Democrats also are seeking the seat that Iwamoto wrested from Mark Crockett, who is one of six Republicans now running for county mayor.

Their ranks include Sam Granato, who runs his family’s food importing and deli business and lost to Republican Mike Lee in the 2010 U.S. Senate election; Jeffrey Hatch, who served one term as Salt Lake County auditor before losing to Republican Greg Hawkins two years ago; Paul Nielson, an attorney for Salt Lake City who previously worked in the civil division of the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office; and Deborah Henry, an activist in the Occupy movement.


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Three council members up for re-election will not face challenges in their party primaries, but will be opposed in November.

Democrat Jim Bradley, who has been on the council since 2001 and previously was a county commissioner, will take on one of three Republicans for his at-large seat.

They are Joseph Demma, Gary Herbert’s chief of staff when Herbert was lieutenant governor; Steve Harmsen, a businessman who was a county councilman from 2001 to 2005 after a term as a Salt Lake City commissioner in the early 1970s; and Melvin Nimer, a businessman who is treasurer of the Utah Pride Center and former president of Utah Log Cabin Republicans.

In Council District 2, which covers northwestern Salt Lake County, Republican Michael Jensen is seeking a fourth four-year term.

The chief of the Unified Fire Authority, he will be pitted in the fall against one of two Democratic hopefuls: Brent Goodfellow, who spent a quarter century in the Legislature before losing his Senate seat in 2010 to Daniel Thatcher, and Merrill Humberg, a photojournalist who lost a Utah House seat race in 2010 to Republican Ron Bigelow.

There will be no primaries in Council District 6, which is in the southeastern part of the valley. The incumbent, Republican Max Burdick, is a real estate broker who has represented the area on the council since 2009 after serving 12 years on Sandy’s Planning Commission.

His November rival will be Democrat Paul Recanzone,who owns a telecommunications consulting firm and formerly worked for the LDS Church, Payson City and Utopia, a fiber-optic network involving several Utah cities.

mikeg@sltrib.comTwitter: @sltribmikeg



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