Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

March 25, 2014
Full slate of candidates seek offices

The filing period for the fall general election in Tooele County closed at 5 p.m. last Thursday and here is the candidate rundown with party conventions set for next month:

Three incumbents have decided not to seek reelection, four incumbents are running unopposed, and there is a four-way race for the Republican nomination in three major county offices.

Heading the list of saying farewell to politics at the end of 2014 is Tooele County Commissioner Jerry Hurst. Hurst bowed out of his county commission seat A position after two terms.

When contacted by the Transcript-Bulletin, Hurst declined to comment on his reason for not seeking a third term.

In 2006 he defeated incumbent County Commissioner Matt Lawrence in the Republican party county convention to gain a spot on the general election ballot where he defeated his Democratic opponent, Mike Johnson, of Tooele City.

In 2010 Hurst defeated Jerry Edwards, a write-in candidate, to earn a second term.

Four Republicans and one Democrat are seeking to replace Hurst.

Gordon Beals of Pine Canyon, Larry Burton from Rush Valley, and Grantsville residents Dean Johnson and Wade Bitner have filed as Republican candidates for county commission seat A.

Jerry Edwards of Grantsville is the Democrat’s choice for county commission seat A.

Jill Thomas, a Grantsville business owner, successfully sought over 300 petition signatures to qualify as an independent candidate for county commission seat A.

The next highest ranking county official not to seek reelection is Tooele County Sheriff Frank Park who has served three consecutive terms.

“I’ve worked in law enforcement for 34 years and was a volunteer firefighter for 25 years,” he said. “They both have a way of interrupting family time at inopportune moments. It is time for me to be a dad, grandpa, and husband for a while.”

Park, born and raised in Tooele City, is the son of a longtime sheriff’s deputy. He worked two years for the Tooele City Police Department and has logged 32 years with the sheriff’s office.

After serving as chief deputy under three different sheriffs, Park first ran for the office in 2002 and won.

Republicans Jack Guenon of Stansbury Park, Duke North from Grantsville, Brad Patch, a resident of Tooele City and Paul Wimmer, also from Tooele City, plus Democrat Andy Oblad from Stansbury Park, have filed to replace Park.

Two terms on the Tooele County School District Board of Education is Karen Nelson’s limit.

“Eight years is enough,” she said. “I’m imposing my own term limit.”

Nelson, who is married to state Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, said she will also be involved in her husband’s reelection campaign.

“One campaign in a family is enough,” she added.

Grantsville residents Matt Lawrence and Teresa McNeill have filed to run for Nelson’s District 5 school board seat.

Four incumbents have no opposition in the 2014 election and will return to office.

Tooele County Recorder Jerry Houghton will add surveyor behind his title in 2015. Tooele County Surveyor Doug Kinsman did not file to run for the combined recorder/surveyor office, and Houghton did not pick up any other competitors during the filing period.

Houghton, a Republican, defeated Democratic incumbent Calleen Peshell in the 2010 general election.

Tooele County Assessor Wendy Shubert, who switched from a Democrat to a Republican before the 2010 election, will get a third term in office because she has no opponent. Shubert also was unopposed in 2010.

County Attorney Doug Hogan, who ran unopposed in the 2006 and 2010 general elections, remains unopposed in 2014.

Tooele County School Board member Carol Jensen is unopposed in school board district 6. This will be Jensen’s third term as a school board member.

Republican and incumbent Tooele County Commissioner Bruce Clegg will try to be the first commissioner since Teryl Hunsaker to be elected to a third term.

Hunsaker, stepped down in 2002 after 12 years on the county commission.

Myron Bateman of Tooele, Danny Marz from Erda, and Jeff McNeill of Grantsville, also filed for the Republican nomination for Clegg’s county commission seat.

Kendall Thomas, a Democrat from Stockton, and Jonathan Garrard, a Constitution party member from Lake Point, also filed for the county commission seat held by Clegg.

Tooele County Clerk Marilyn Gillette is being challenged by Toby Lee for the Republican nomination for the combined office of county clerk/auditor.

Sam Woodruff filed to run for clerk/auditor as a Democrat.

Tooele County Auditor Mike Jensen will square off against Tooele County Treasurer Jeremy Walker at the Tooele County Republican convention for the party’s nomination for county treasurer.

Rachel Hester of Tooele, is the lone Democrat running for county treasurer.

Alan Mouritsen of Grantsville, signed up to run for a full four-year term for school board district 7.

Mouritsen was appointed last November to fill the unexpired term of Jeff Hogan, who resigned to accept a temporary work assignment in Washington, D.C.

Christine Johnson of Grantsville has also filed for the school board District 7 seat.

In state legislative races for seats representing Tooele County District 12, Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, faces an intraparty challenge from Tooele County resident Vicki Griffith. The Republican candidate for District 12 will face Clare Collard, a Republican from Magna, in the general election.

In District 17, Sen. Pete Knudson, R-Brigham City, is being challenged by Democrat Scott Totman of Stansbury Park and Constitution party member Kirk Pearson from Lake Point.

Rep. Doug Sagers, R-Tooele, will face a challenge from Democrat Rick Pollock from Stansbury Park for House District 21.

In House District 68, Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Granstville, will be opposed by Cindy Vincent of Stockton for the Republican nomination. The Republican nominee will go against Independent American candidate Rett Rowley of Delta in the general election.

Nine candidates have filed to run for the non-partisan State School Board for District 3, which includes Tooele and Juab counties, along with West Valley City.

Three of the District 3 school board candidates are from Tooele County. They include Dugway scientist Russell Bartholomew from Stockton; Tooele County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jared Hamner of Grantsville, and local small business owner and charter school business manager Tracey Marz from Erda.

The list of state school board candidates will be reduced to three candidates for each district by the State School Board Recruiting and Nominating Committee. The three names will be further reduced by Gov. Gary Herbert, who will select two names from each district to appear on the general election ballot.

The State School Board Recruiting and Nominating Committee consists of 12 members appointed by the governor. Each member of the committee represents a statutorily defined group of Utah’s industry, business, parent, and education communities.

The Tooele County Democratic party convention will be held April 3 followed by the county Republican party convention on April 18. The state conventions for the Republican and Democratic parties will be held on April 26.

A primary election will be held on June 24 if party conventions are unable to reduce the number of candidates for each position down to one person. 

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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