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Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove is eyeing a switch to city government, filing Thursday as a candidate for mayor of Murray.
Snelgrove, a Republican elected last year to his second term on the County Council, said he had no plans to run, but he was persuaded to after encouragement from others in the wake of Murray Mayor Ted Eyre's decision to retire after his current term.
"Should I win, and I'm going to run hard and make every attempt to win, this would be my first full-time job in politics," Snelgrove said.
The at-large councilman said the city's strong-mayor form of governance appealed to him as a businessman.
He will be facing former veteran fire official Blair Camp and Verl Greenhalgh, a commercial and residential planner. Neither candidate could be reached Thursday evening.
Snelgrove was the most prominent among the crowd of candidates who began lining up Thursday to run for hundreds of municipal offices in the state including the 15 mayoral spots on the ballot in Salt Lake County this year.
With a one-week filing window, some hopefuls hit the ground running on Day One, including incumbent mayors in West Valley City, Draper, St. George, Riverton, Taylorsville and Holladay.
Salt Lake City is one of two cities in the county that don't have mayoral elections this year. The other is Millcreek.
In the capital, Councilman James Rogers filed to run for a second term in District 1 after serving as the council's chairman last year. He will face a challenge from longtime Rose Park resident Arnold Jones.
Community activist and civil rights attorney Chris Wharton filed to fill the District 3 seat that will be vacated by current council Chairman Stan Penfold, while Backcountry.com Senior Manager Jason Sills signaled his intent to succeed outgoing District 7 Councilwoman Lisa Adams.
Vance Hansen filed to run against incumbent Erin Mendenhall in District 5. Mendenhall has yet to file, but she is expected to do so.
Seven other prospective candidates have opened campaign committees with the city recorder but haven't filed.
In West Valley City, the state's second largest municipality, Ron Bigelow, a first-term incumbent, faces a challenge once again from Councilwoman Karen Lang, as well as from grass-roots candidate Joshua Cameron.
Bigelow said he has expected several challengers, but not as many as the 10 candidates who ran four years ago. "There's a lot of interest here."
He defeated the field last time by noting his experience, including 16 years in the Legislature and as budget director for Gov. Gary Herbert. He said he's running again "because there are some unfinished projects that I hope to accomplish." That includes ironing out problems with UTOPIA, an internet service owned by several cities. "I want to make it work and make it more manageable to citizens."
He is working to create a veterans memorial hall, and he wants to see it through to completion.
Lang is in her second council term.
She offered no specific criticism of Bigelow, but she said she was running because she wants "to continue to move the city forward and work on economic development. ... I just like to be more involved in the community." Lang pointed to her 10 years on the planning commission as invaluable experience.
Cameron, 36, said whether he wins or loses he hopes to "shape the conversation" and push Bigelow more to the left during the campaign, including toward a higher minimum wage and sanctuary for immigrants.
The Army veteran, who spent fours years as a combat medic with stints in Iraq and Kosovo, was "motivated and inspired" this last year by Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign. But it was the election of Donald Trump that startled him so much that he wanted to get involved in local politics to fight some of the policies instituted.
In Riverton, three-term Mayor Bill Applegarth faces a challenge from first-term City Councilman Trent Staggs.
Applegarth points to recent developments in the city including the under-construction 85-acre Mountain View Village retail and entertainment center as examples of positive growth started while he's been in office. He's seeking re-election, he said, to see those projects through.
"I want to see that we are moving in the path of financial stability with the city," he said.
The mayor also applauded efforts he's led to create more bike- and pedestrian-friendly transportation systems.
Staggs, though, said he's been "the driver" on many of the economic expansions that Applegarth mentioned, including the incoming mall. He was the only city employee, he said, to attend a convention in 2014, when he approached prospective developers.
His motivation, he added, has been not wanting Riverton to be "bested" by Draper and South Jordan in development.
Though he acknowledges being a "relative newcomer to politics," Staggs led the charge on overhauling Riverton's culinary water system something he says residents had asked for but were "not really listened to" until he took office in 2014.
When asked about running against Applegarth, Staggs said he wished him the best, then he added that the time the mayor has spent in office has been "unprecedented." Applegarth said he's enjoyed working with Staggs, and "we're both strong candidates."
In South Jordan, former state Rep. Rich Cunningham decided to run for mayor in part because of silver-lining encouragement he received last year while losing a tough race for the state Senate in that area.
"I lost by 700 votes" in the Republican primary, he said. "I got 70 percent of the vote in South Jordan, but only 20 percent in Herriman and West Jordan. That's why I decided to run. If I hadn't got those kind of numbers [in South Jordan], I probably wouldn't be doing it."
He added: "I feel that we need some strong leadership on the west side in my area." Cunningham, who served four years in the state House, said he hopes to use some of his state contacts to help the city as it fights to improve transportation, reduce crime and handle rapid growth.
Also filing on the first day of the candidacy declaration period was Mark Woolley, a planning commission member since 2015. Woolley did not immediately return a request for comment.
In Draper, Mayor Troy Walker who faced criticism in March after offering his city as a potential location for a new homeless resource center has launched a bid for re-election. He doesn't think the controversy over the shelter site, which included residents booing a homeless man off the stage during a public hearing, will affect his campaign.
"I suppose there were people who were upset with it. I think I've explained my intentions and my motives. I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do to be part of the solution," he said. "I would probably do it again, knowing what I know."
In seeking a second term, Walker hopes to see through some projects that he put into play, including the development of the land currently occupied by the Utah State Prison, which will relocate to Salt Lake City. He also anticipates adding more trails and parks in Draper.
"I've got a few more things I'd like to accomplish," he said.
He faces a challenge from Councilwoman Michele Weeks. She has in recent months been at odds with fellow council members in a public dispute over ethics allegations she says are unwarranted and politically motivated. Weeks also is "running on more transparency, and more community involvement and feedback," she said.
She pointed to the homeless shelter debacle as one example, blaming the mayor for setting residents up to look bad by springing his plan on them at the last minute. "The citizens took a real big hit on that."
In West Jordan, two City Council members Dirk Burton and Zach Jacob are running for mayor, as is longtime city employee Jim Riding.
Incumbent Kim Rolfe is expected to seek re-election and has through Wednesday to do so.
Burton ran for mayor in 2013 and has served on the City Council for the past two years. He looks to bolster economic development, adding mixed-use retail and entertainment complexes to the city. His plan, he said, would help keep taxes down for all residents.
"We have lots of opportunities for businesses and industries to come to West Jordan," Burton said.
Jacob, also midway through his first term, said he wants the city to put bonding measures on the ballot for voters to decide, rather than having the council make those calls.
"Really kind of a focus of my campaign is just advocating for people to be heard at the city level," Jacob said. He also believes the city has been underrepresented on regional boards that have led West Jordan to miss out on transportation funding.
Riding, who plans to retire from his post as a manager of capital improvements and facilities, cites his experience and know-how in deciding to run.
"I understand the city, I understand its problems, I understand its employees. … I can bring that to the mayor's chair and move things along in a good, civil manner."
In Herriman, City Councilwoman Coralee Wessman-Moser is running for the city's top job after incumbent Carmen Freeman decided one term was enough.
A two-term council member (one full term and one abbreviated two-year term), Wessman-Moser said she believes continuity of leadership is key at a time when Herriman faces crucial decisions about its future.
"We need to continue to focus on economic development with really disciplined residential growth. The issues are detailed and complex enough that having some experience is going to be very valuable to the residents," said Wessman-Moser. On the city website, she said she believes in doing everything possible to keep the city an "attractive and family friendly place to live."
In Midvale, Sophia Hawes-Tingey, who ran for City Council two years ago and the Legislature prior to that, has declared her candidacy for what is expected to be an open mayor's seat after the retirement of longtime leader JoAnn Seghini.
Hawes-Tingey says the main thrust of her campaign will be to get the community more involved in local affairs and "building the city according to the vision of the people who live here." She envisions a renovation of Main Street as an arts district.
A transgender person, Hawes-Tingey doesn't see her identity as a key part of the campaign outside of the push for Midvale to "maintain welcomeness to all kinds of diversity."
Also filing for the mayor's post was Robert Hale, who was not immediately available for comment.
In Taylorsville, Mayor Larry Johnson faces a challenge from Kristie Steadman Overson.
In Holladay, Mayor Robert Dahle filed, with no challenger on the opening day of filing.
Reporters Lee Davidson and Matthew Piper contributed to this report.