Transgender Midvale mayor candidate likely headed for general election; all Salt Lake County mayors appear to survive runoff

Surprises include Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove trailing in Murray; Mayors in Draper, Taylorsville running second but probably advancing.<br>

Midvale mayoral candidate Sophia Hawes-Tingey

A transgender candidate for mayor in Midvale took a step toward history in Tuesday’s primary: Sophia Hawes-Tingey appeared to safely advance to the Nov. 7 final election.

Meanwhile, all six incumbent mayors in Salt Lake County who faced primaries on Tuesday — in Draper, Sandy, South Salt Lake, Taylorsville, West Jordan and West Valley City — appeared to survive primaries in unofficial incomplete results.

Among surprises is that big-name Salt Lake County Council member Richard Snelgrove was running third among four candidates for Murray mayor, and only the top two advance. Former four-term mayor Dan Snarr was leading with 42 percent, followed by veteran fire official D. Blair Camp with 34 percent.

The Draper mayoral race was also somewhat unexpected. Incumbent Mayor Troy Walker — heavily criticized for an aborted attempt this year to bring a homeless resource center to the city — was running second among three candidates, with 37 percent of the vote, but appeared safe to advance.

He trailed City Councilwoman Michele Weeks, who had 47 percent in the early vote count. Financial services agency owner Troy Martinez was a distant third with 16 percent.

That Draper race has been a soap opera.

A state ethics commission recently dismissed a complaint against Weeks — calling it “just political stuff” — after Walker and other city council members said a letter she wrote in a city-funded newsletter amounted to inappropriate political speech.

Weeks hired former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who warned council members not to publicly discuss “false” allegations. The city council then hired an attorney to look into emails Weeks sent, some of which were proofread by a city staffer.

The only other mayor in the county running second, but safe to advance, was Taylorsville Mayor Larry Johnson, with 41 percent of the vote. He trailed City Council member Kristie Overson. She led with 54 percent.

In Midvale, transgender candidate Hawes-Tingey was running second among five hopefuls and appearing safe to advance with 24 percent of the vote. She trailed former city council member Robert Hale, who had 30 percent. In a somewhat distant third place was retired CPA Mont Millerberg, with 15 percent.

In a three-way primary in Sandy, incumbent Mayor Dolan and state attorney Kurt Bradburn were leading. Dolan had 50 percent of the vote to 39 percent for Bradburn. Trailing them was businessman Gary Forbush with 12 percent.

Bradburn charged in recent days that Dolan initially failed to disclose $180,000 in past donations from lobbyists and real-estate developers, received between the end of his last election through the first of this year.

Dolan said the city recorder had required listing donations only from the beginning of this year, but he went back and filed an amended form to show all contributions since 2013 — revealing that extra $180,000. The city recorder, he said, concluded he violated no laws or rules.

But Bradburn said in a press release Tuesday, “It explains why the city of Sandy is now choked with high density housing, because the current mayor is loyal to campaign contributors and not the people of Sandy. Real estate developers have funded his political career for the past 24 years.”

Dolan said, “Bradburn is just trying to look for some way to take me out of office. He’s not really talking about any issues.” He added, “People don’t feel the way he does. I’ve had more support this time around than I have in years.”

In West Jordan, incumbent Mayor Kim Rolfe attracted four challengers. Rolfe was leading with 30 percent, followed by city employee Jim Riding with 26 percent, city council member Dirk Burton with 19 percent and city council member Zach Jacob with 17 percent.

The West Jordan City Council, of which the mayor is a member, has seen plenty of in-fighting in recent years. At one point, the city council attempted to lower Rolfe’s salary — and he sued seeking to block it.

Minorities make up 52 percent of West Valley City’s population. But the only minority member ever elected to city office there — onetime Vietnamese refugee Tom Huynh — appears headed to defeat in the mayoral primary.

Huynh, a city council member, was in third place in a four-person runoff, with 22 percent of the vote. Leading was incumbent Mayor Ron Bigelow, with 39 percent, and city council member Karen Lang, with 31 percent, setting up a likely general election re-match from four years ago.

In South Salt Lake, incumbent Mayor Cherie Wood was leading two city council members challenging her. She had 58 percent, followed by Mark C. Kindred with 23 percent and L. Shane Siwik with 18 percent.

In South Jordan’s mayoral primary, former state Rep. Rich Cunningham was in trouble, running third in a three-way race with 27 percent. Dawn Ramsey was leading with 39 percent, and in second was Buildtec Solutions President Mark Woolley with 34 percent.