Cold feet in politics

The increasingly crowded race for Salt Lake City mayor just lost one of its contenders.

U student Nick Bryson, who announced in July that he intended to run for the post, has dropped out of the race.

While Bryson had big plans for Salt Lake City, like converting all city-owned vehicles to run on bio-diesel fuel and building a worm farm to dispose of organic waste, he said he didn’t like the persona and ego he felt came along with politics.

“You’ve got to put on a show for everybody,” the 24-year-old said.

Bryson, a senior in mass communication, said it was his distaste for the guise of politics that convinced him he wasn’t cut out for the race. Bryson decided in late October that he would not form a committee necessary to run for mayor.

“I think politicians really have to love themselves,” he said. “I don’t love myself enough to hold office–maybe that’s a good thing.”

Bryson originally decided he would run for mayor after reading in the local newspapers that it would require an estimated $500,000 to win the election.

He wanted to challenge the “excessive spending” involved in politics by running a campaign on less than $5,000–an idea he thought voters would appreciate.

Bryson even refused to pay $300 to get on the ballot for the election next fall and instead, opted to raise the 300 signatures required for a spot.

“I felt it was wrong to have to pay to get on the ballot,” Bryson said.

Bryson said that, with the help of some friends and supporters, he had received many signatures before deciding to end his campaign.

Bryson, who lives in Holladay, said he had planned to move to the Salt Lake City later this year so he would be an eligible candidate.

Dave Buhler, a Salt Lake City councilman and candidate for mayor, said amassing a large campaign fund is necessary for winning a race as large as city mayor.

“You have to be able to inform voters of who you are,” Buhler said. “I don’t view it as positive or negative.”

He said a candidate “wouldn’t get very far” on $5,000.

Buhler is one among nine other candidates who say they plan to run for mayor. Other candidates include Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson, State Legislative Representative Ralph Becker, City Councilwoman Nancy Saxton, former Utah Democratic Party Chairwoman Meghan Holbrook and former City Councilman Keith Christensen.

While the prospects of winning the race as a political unknown on a limited budget may seem unlikely, Bryson is confident that voters would have taken his alternative message seriously.

If elected, some of Bryson’s additional proposals would have included creating a permanent city farmer’s market, a sales-tax-free shopping weekend downtown and free wireless Internet connection for the entire city.

Bryson said he doesn’t have a favorite among the remaining candidates in the race, but said he hopes “another candidate will challenge the excessive spending.”

For now Bryson says he plans to stay out of politics, but he said he may take another run at it in the future after he graduates and his life is more established.

Lennie Mahler

U student Nick Bryson recently dropped out of the race for Salt Lake City Mayor, telling The Chronicle, “I think politicians really have to love themselves, I don’t love myself enough to hold office-maybe that’s a good thing.”