Republican forms exploratory committee for Salt Lake County mayoral race
Dec 18, 2023, 5:00 PM
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
SALT LAKE CITY — Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson could have a Republican running against her in 2024. Erin Rider announced this week that she’s formed an exploratory committee to look into a run for office.
In 1998, Salt Lake County voters decided to switch the county’s form of government to include a mayor and council members.
Since that time, five people (including an acting, unelected mayor) have held the job.
Wilson has announced she will run again in 2024, hoping to stay in office another four years.
A Republican’s chances in Salt Lake County
The first Salt Lake County Mayor, Nancy Workman, was a Republican. But the last three have been Democrats. Rider said she’s not concerned about that.
“I think there are a lot of politically homeless Republicans in Salt Lake County,” she told KSL NewsRadio, “who have been so disenfranchised and disgusted with what’s going on at a national level, that they don’t know where they sit.”
“But here in Utah with the ideals and values of the Utah Republican Party, and smart, practical leadership, I think you’re gonna see a lot of those Republicans finally find a home again.”
Republican vs. Democrats in Utah and Salt Lake County
Overall, Utah is a reliably Republican state. According to the most recent state voter information, Republicans make up more than half of the number of registered active voters. Democrats make up about 14% of registered active voters in Utah.
In Salt Lake County, as of Dec. 18, 2023, about 41% of registered voters are Republican. Nearly 22% of registered voters in Salt Lake County were Democrats.
Getting things done vs. political parties
Indeed, Wilson is a Democrat. She works with a city council that is split 5 to 4 for Republicans. She told KSL NewsRadio that several things point to her ability to work with her Republican colleagues.
“The budget I [recently] recommended wasn’t modified too much, and we passed it unanimously,” she said. “There are times when there’s a difference of opinion. But having served on the county council for 10 years, I know what it’s like to be in their shoes, and I respect them all.
“I think it’s important in politics, and it’s important neighbor to neighbor. Let’s set our partisanship aside.”
Wilson said the same is true when she is dealing with the Republican-led Utah legislature.
“I’ve always felt that I should treat the legislature like I want to treat my neighbor, with respect. We can work better together if we are focusing on things that we have in common and not the things that divide us, regardless of our party.”
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