McAdams presses on against 'mystery' opponent
Two weeks of waiting to find out which Republican will be his opponent for Salt Lake County mayor has not altered Democrat Ben McAdams' campaign approach.
Nor will it if Tuesday's official canvass does not settle the June 26 GOP primary once and for all, and a recount is needed to establish a clear winner between candidates Mark Crockett and Mike Winder.
"This campaign is about me and taking my message to the voters," McAdams said Monday in an interview at his modest campaign headquarters at 1063 E. 3300 South. Those are the same offices used by the party colleague he hopes to replace as mayor, Peter Corroon, who opted against seeking a third term.
"It falls on us," McAdams added, "to show county residents who I am, what I believe in and what I can provide for the future of Salt Lake County."
He does not expect to attend the canvass, which will be conducted at 4 p.m. by the County Council, but is likely to be represented by campaign manager Justin Miller.
"I'd rather have him out talking to voters," Miller said.
In the canvass, County Clerk Sherrie Swensen will give the council (acting as the Board of Canvassers) an updated count of all the votes cast in primary races in the county, including 7,652 provisional, absentee and mail-in ballots that arrived in her office after June 26 and subsequently were certified by her staff as valid.
The only race in which those late arrivals could affect the outcome was the GOP primary for mayor. Crockett, a former county councilman, held an election night lead of 239 votes (34,481 to 34,242) over Winder, mayor of West Valley City. All other primaries had clear winners.
After the late ballots are included and if the difference between the two candidates remains less than 724 votes (one for each in precinct in the county), the loser has up to seven days to request a recount. That process could take several days, Swensen said Monday.
So the candidates, McAdams included, will have to exhibit still-more patience.
Having to wait for a GOP nominee to emerge should not be a detriment to McAdams' campaign, said Matthew Burbank, associate professor of political science at the University of Utah.
"From a human perspective, he'd rather know, just as the Republican candidates would rather know, too," Burbank said. "But, largely, his function at this point is essentially the same. He's trying to raise money. He's trying to reach out and make contact with as many potential supporters as he can and making sure his [committed] supporters are all there. All of this is preliminary, because the real meat of the campaign doesn't start until the fall."
On Monday, McAdams visited a nonprofit group that provides mental health services, trying to learn more about the human services system overseen by the county, then returned to his headquarters, where a half-dozen volunteers were making phone calls seeking financial and moral support.
He appears to be in good shape financially. According to the latest financial disclosure forms, McAdams, who faced no primary foe, had nearly $97,000 in the bank as of mid-June. Crockett had just under $18,000, Winder not quite $4,000.
"We're just trying to build the momentum of the campaign," McAdams said, sporting a tie whose crisscrossing blue and orange lines match the coloring and design of his campaign posters. "We're reaching out to Democrats and asking Republicans and independents to come over to the policies and ideas we advocate."
And if he has to wait another day or week, to find out whether he's running against Crockett or Winder, it makes no difference.
As campaign manager Miller put it: "Ben's who Ben's going to be tomorrow and who he was yesterday."
Results of the June 26 primary, including the tightly contested Republican mayor's race, will be certified at Tuesday's 4 p.m. meeting of the Salt Lake County Council. Here are the unofficial results as of election night:
Mark Crockett, 34,481, 50.2%
Mike Winder, 34,242, 49.8%