Mike Winder to Challenge Fred Cox for GOP Nomination in House District 30

Former West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder is jumping back into the political arena, challenging Republican Rep. Fred Cox for the GOP nomination in House District 30.

Winder, who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for Salt Lake County Mayor in 2012, says he is challenging Cox because he thinks he'll be a stronger voice than the incumbent.
"West Valley City is a swing area, and I want to keep the seat in Republican hands," says Winder, noting that Cox defeated Democrat Mike Lee by a scant 47 votes in 2014.
Cox, who won the seat in 2014 after losing to Democrat Janice Fisher in 2012, says he's not surprised that Winder is challenging him.
"Mike raised $100,000 the last time he ran for an office," says Cox. "I'm not worried about running against a Winder in West Valley City. I won last time because of the fact I wore out a pair of shoes and a set of tires."
One issue that is sure to dog Winder this campaign is the "Richard Burwash" incident.  Winder admitted to writing more than a dozen stories about West Valley City for Utah media outlets under the pen name "Richard Burwash" while in office as West Valley's Mayor. 
Winder says he's expecting the incident to come up during the campaign.
"My neighbors and those I talk to in House District 30 know I'm humble enough to admit my mistakes and learn from them. I have enough candor and honesty to acknowledge hard things, and the optimism to fight for West Valley."
For his part, Cox says he doesn't plan to make the controversy an issue in the campaign.
"I'm going to run on what I can do and what I can get done. There was no mudslinging in my last two elections, and I hope that would happen this time around."
One wrinkle in the nominating process next year is the new petition route to the primary ballot under SB 54. Winder says he plans to use both the petition and convention methods next year.
"The convention and delegate process is very important. I won't snub those delegates," says Winder. "I also believe a lot of great voters want to participate outside of the convention, and I want to engage with them as well."
Cox has been one of the most vocal opponents of the "Count My Vote" compromise passed by the legislature during the 2014 session. He says he plans only to use the caucus and convention route, and will not gather signatures to get on the primary ballot.
"There are a lot of people arguing you would be stupid not to take both routes. I don't see the use of a system that I thought was flawed to begin with."
Furthermore, Cox says he's confident he would win a majority of delegates at the convention.
"I haven't seen Mike at any events (in the district) over the past few years. He can get involved again and try to create some relationships, but I would much rather have somebody run for an office because they're already involved."