David Wilde is dropping out of the race for Murray mayor after learning that cancer he first learned about three years ago has spread and become more aggressive, making it uncertain he would be able to complete his term if elected.
"I felt after much reflection that it would be unfair to the citizens of Murray to ask for their support for this important office without advising them of my situation," said Wilde, 57, a Salt Lake County councilman since 2001 and two-time council chairman.
Knowing political campaigns can be time-consuming and emotionally draining, he added that "after discussions with many people, especially my family, I have finally concluded there are more important ways for me to spend my time and emotional energies at this time in my life."
Wilde came in second to Ted Eyre in Murray’s Aug. 13 primary, trailing the front-runner 1,879 to 1,193, according to unofficial results. Murray Councilman Jim Brass was third with 1,149 votes.
Wilde said he hoped his withdrawal before the primary results are certified on Tuesday will allow Brass to be put on the Nov. 5 general election ballot as Eyre’s opponent. "I do not mean to endorse Jim Brass," he added, "but only to express my desire that Murray residents be offered a meaningful choice."
But his wish looks unlikely.
Murray City Attorney Frank Nakamura said his preliminary review of state election law indicates Wilde’s withdrawal does not impact the outcome of the primary. "The third-place person would not move up," he said, presuming Tuesday’s official canvass does not alter the order of the finish. "[Wilde’s] name probably will have to be removed or blacked out because he did withdraw."
Nakamura said there are provisions for a write-in candidate to be placed on the ballot.
Eyre spoke Monday to Wilde, reflecting later that "whenever we’re faced with a major medical concern in our life, it quickly puts things into proper perspective. I know the decision to withdraw was difficult for him and I’m saddened that he’s facing these circumstances because I have a great deal of respect for David."
Wilde learned he had prostate cancer three years ago, believing since then that its slow-growing nature would allow him to "live a normal life for many years." But he learned recently that "my cancer has taken a more aggressive course and has now spread to my bones. The likelihood of my being able to complete a full term as mayor is therefore in doubt."
He apologized for the late date of his withdrawal, noting "this information is new and completely unexpected." He expressed hope that he had not let down his supporters.
"I especially appreciate my wife, Linda, as well as my children and family for their unfailing support and love," Wilde said. "I hope that all will understand the decision I have made at this time."
Because he still feels well most of the time and appears to be responding well to radiation treatment, Wilde said he plans to remain on the County Council through the end of his term in January 2015.
"I’m pleased to hear that and thankful," said Council Chairman Steve DeBry. "He’s a man of integrity and we all love him. I’m just devastated by this news. We wish him the best as he fights this terrible disease, we hope to recovery."
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.