Policy Buzz: Why No Big-Name Republican in SL County Mayoral Race?

lavarr policy insightsOne of the important races that has received scant attention this election season is for Salt Lake County mayor. Democrat Ben McAdams is up for re-election and I’m curious why no big-name Republican stepped up to challenge him.

After all, it’s a pretty attractive job – behind only the governorship and a U.S. Senate seat as a powerful political position. It has a high profile, lots of media attention, big budget, more constituents than a U.S. House seat, and myriad interesting issues. A real opportunity for meaningful service.

And a whole host of ambitious, capable, young, 40-something Republicans are just waiting in line, twiddling their thumbs, hoping for a shot at a congressional or gubernatorial seat. None of them stepped up against McAdams.

Why not go for an attractive position now instead of waiting for Gary Herbert or Orrin Hatch to retire? Utah’s four U.S. House members could stay on for years. It might be a very long wait.

To be sure, McAdams has a Republican opponent, Dave Robinson. He appears to be planning an aggressive campaign, already criticizing McAdams on several issues. He might turn out to be a good candidate, and if he loses he might set himself up for another race in the future. But Robinson is mostly unknown, a real longshot.

Meanwhile, the list of very attractive potential GOP candidates is quite long, including a whole bunch of capable Republican legislators. Why didn’t any of them run for the mayoral seat?

The reality is that McAdams is going to be tough to beat. He’s well-liked, moderate, but the Democratic liberal base is happy with him. And a lot of the prospective Republican candidates have a good relationship with the mayor and just plain like him.

Still, Salt Lake County remains a swing county and the right Republican would have a decent shot.

And, ironically, by not taking on McAdams now, the chance of meeting him later in a race for governor, U.S. Senate, or U.S. House increases significantly.

What Happens in Contested National GOP Convention? If you’re curious, here’s a simple explanation from the Institute for Policy Innovation.

The Use of Power. We elect politicians with the hope and expectation that they will wield the awesome coercive power of government with wisdom and restraint. Here are some thoughts about the use of power:

“The sole advantage of power is that you can do more good.”

— Baltasar Gracian

“Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it.

— Warren Bennis

“Being powerful is like being a lady – if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

— Lady Margaret Thatcher

Pet Peeve of the Day. I’m clearly old. And obviously old-school. Email messages, social media posts and comments that are full of spelling errors, bad grammar and bad punctuation really bug me. If someone lacks the pride, discipline and courtesy to write clear sentences with reasonable punctuation and grammar, then I assume their opinions and insights are equally sloppy. Lazy writing probably means lazy thinking. Certainly, all of us make occasional errors. My writing is certainly not perfect. But the best thing to do when confronted with stream-of-consciousness writing containing multiple errors is this: ignore it.