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Republicans only have a 5-4 majority on the Salt Lake County Council.
So when they assemble in early January to pick a replacement for resigning Councilman David Wilde, they're likely looking for a successor eager to stay in politics for some time and to keep Wilde's District 3 seat in GOP hands.
"We have a desire to maintain our hold on the seat through the general election" in November 2014, County Republican Party Chairman Chad Bennion said Wednesday. "So I'm sure the question will be raised, 'Will you be seeking the nomination in the fall?' That may have a bearing with the delegates."
Aimee Winder Newton thinks she's the one to carry the torch, announcing her interest Wednesday in seeking Wilde's seat.
A day earlier, the 57-year-old Wilde said he will resign Jan. 1, with a year left on his fourth term, to take a job with the county District Attorney's Office. That position gives him access to county health insurance while he fights cancer.
Bennion said party officials have begun planning for a special election in the first two weeks of January. It can't occur before Wilde's resignation becomes official Jan. 1.
"We want to make sure there's a seamless transition," he added, "and to have everything done before the legislative session," which begins Jan. 27.
There are about 300 Republican delegates eligible to vote in District 3, which includes most of Murray and Taylorsville and parts of West Valley City, South Salt Lake and west Millcreek.
People have until election night to enter the race for Wilde's seat, Bennion said.
Newton, 39, has been communications director for Taylorsville City. She pledged to step down to run for the council, where she would advocate "conservative principles and common-sense policy. … Having measurable goals and data to justify programs and spending is key."
Active in Salt Lake Republican politics since her teenage years, Newton is the sister of outgoing West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder. But she traced her political interests to her grandfather, businessman Ned Winder, who impressed upon her a belief in "giving back to our community when possible."
Newton was involved in making Taylorsville a city in 1996, served on the city's planning commission for eight years and was chairwoman of its economic development committee. She also has been a county and state GOP delegate and is active at her four children's schools.