SL Co. Democrats choose Mullen, Gill

Politics » Delegates prefer picking nominees to setting up June primaries.
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Democrats made it clear who they wanted.

Whether picking a prosecutor or a Council member, Salt Lake County Democrats decided by large margins during a standing-room-only convention Saturday at West High who should represent them in the biggest county races of the year.

They nominated Salt Lake City Prosecutor Sim Gill to challenge Republican incumbent Lohra Miller -- again -- for District Attorney.

Likewise, they overwhelmingly favored former journalist Holly Mullen, to chase the countywide Council seat that her stepdaughter, Jenny Wilson, will vacate at the end of the year.

Where there was doubt was in the Salt Lake City-centered District 1 race for the County Council. After two rounds of balloting, delegates found themselves unable to pick between Cal Noyce, president of the Central Utah Federation of Labor, and Arlyn Bradshaw, a former executive director to the Utah Democratic Party.

After three rounds of balloting, Noyce garnered 54 percent of the vote to Bradshaw's 46 percent. The separation between the two: 18 votes.

So the two candidates will face a primary election runoff June 22. The winner will challenge former County Councilman Steve Harmsen for a Democratic-leaning seat now occupied by retiring Councilman Joe Hatch.

The nominations came during an unusually crowded Democratic convention, where delegates crammed shoulder-to-shoulder into an auditorium that fits about 1,100 people.

Democrats hope to preserve -- and perhaps strengthen -- their 5-4 majority on the County Council.

"We have a great chance to not just have a majority," exclaimed County Councilman Randy Horiuchi, "but to have a pre-eminent majority in Salt Lake County."

Of course, Republicans are just as hopeful that they can steal away the majority that Democrats gained just one year ago. All eyes are on the countywide seat that Democrats are entrusting to Mullen.

Mullen, a former columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune and editor of City Weekly , won a lopsided victory Saturday over Christian Burridge, a one-time congressional candidate and former county party boss.

"I'm absolutely thrilled," she said simply.

Although she's a newcomer to politics, Mullen said she's made her political positions abundantly clear in more than 700 newspaper columns that will help people know how she'll represent them on the County Council.

Mullen will face either Winston Wilkinson or Richard Snelgrove in the November elections -- both Republicans face a primary election.

Gill's victory came over defense attorney Greg Skordas. He now will run against Miller, a Republican who beat him four years ago. Gill hopes for a different outcome in November.

"We have a community of citizens out there who are hungry for change," said Gill, who personally contacted more than 1,000 delegates. "They know something is broken at the District Attorney's office and they want it fixed."

As for Gill's campaign strategy? "Hard work, hard work and hard work."


Picking the Democratic players:

District Attorney

Sim Gill » 73 percent

Greg Skordas » 27 percent

Countywide council seat

Holly Mullen » 77 percent

Christian Burridge 23 percent

*District 1 council seat

Cal Noyce » 54 percent

Arlyn Bradshaw » 46 percent

Michael Fife (Eliminated in the first round of balloting)

State Senate District 9

Tyler Ayres 65 percent

C.B. Stirling 35 percent

State House

District 24

Rebecca Chavez-Houck (unanimous)

Richard Nahum Goldberger (absent)

District 51

Paul Recanzone (unanimous)

Jesse Christensen (withdrew)

Source: Salt Lake County Democratic Party