With the 2018 midterm elections over, in order to become Utah’s 4th district representative, congressman-elect Mayor Ben McAdams will issue his resignation as Salt Lake County mayor, leaving a spot to be filled. McAdams’ resignation takes effect on January 2, meaning that the new mayor will be chosen within thirty days by vote of the county Democratic party’s central committee. Two candidates, Jenny Wilson and Shireen Ghorbani, recently announced their intent to run.
Jenny Wilson announced her candidacy first. She recently lost her race for a U.S. Senate seat to Mitt Romney and now has a quick turn around to campaign for mayor. Wilson says that “after 10-years of working on the Salt Lake County Council, I am well qualified to continue the progress of county mayors Peter Corroon and Ben McAdams.”
Peter Corroon, the mayor before McAdams, was the first Democrat to run for Utah governor with a Republican running mate. Despite losing the race, Corroon still sought to go beyond party lines, a sentiment that has been shared by his successor, McAdams. McAdams also advocates for decisions to be made in bipartisan fashion, most notably through his homeless reform. Following in the two previous mayors’ footsteps could mean more bipartisan decisions in Salt Lake County.
“My priorities include canyon and environmental issues, housing affordability, and criminal justice reform.” Wilson says these are the things that she will focus on if she is elected. Wilson also will “look forward to a busy few months campaigning to the Salt Lake County Central Committee, who will fill this vacancy.”
The decision of who will replace McAdams comes down to the Salt Lake County Central Committee. They will hold a vote and in thirty days decide who will fill the mayor’s spot, making it possible that Salt Lake County may not have a mayor during the month of January. However, it is entirely possible that it will take the committee less time to hold the vote. Salt Lake County will more than likely have a new mayor by the time February comes around.
Shireen Ghorbani also announced her candidacy for mayor. Ghorbani ran for Congress in the 2018 election but lost the race. Her priorities when running for Congress included creating jobs, protecting public lands and improving educational policies. These priorities will more than likely continue to run her platform and be adjusted to fit into the scope of mayorship.
According to Daisy Thomas, Utah Democratic Party Chair, “only Jenny Wilson and Shireen Ghorbani have declared intent to run for Salt Lake County Mayor.” This does not mean that other candidates will not announce and file for themselves soon, as there is still time before McAdams leaves. The county Democratic party will not be without options, even if it is only Wilson or Ghorbani who decide to run. As students at the University of Utah, which sits in Salt Lake County, we should understand who the candidates are and follow the special vote as it will have an impact on the next two years before the next mayoral election.
“The county is headed in the right direction with low unemployment and a strong economy that make it a great place to live, work and play,” said McAdams. “We work together, Republicans and Democrats to find common ground and tackle our challenges. Already, several great candidates are expressing interest in running. Whoever is chosen to lead Salt Lake County will step in to a government that is well managed with positive momentum and can bring new ideas and a new perspective in service to our residents.”