(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ben McAdams, right, reflects on the election a day after being selected as Salt Lake County's next mayor with campaign manager Justin Miller at campaign headquarters in Salt Lake City Wednesday November 7.
County election: McAdams ready to work, but first - fishing
S.L. County » Mayor-elect McAdams thanks backers, says voters like his bipartisan outlook.

First Published Nov 07 2012 05:24 pm • Last Updated Mar 06 2013 11:32 pm

Ben McAdams was back at work by 6 a.m. Wednesday, doing the first of many media interviews about his election the night before as Salt Lake County’s next mayor.

In between, he and his wife took their kids to breakfast at Denny’s, then dropped them off at school. Every other free minute through the morning McAdams made telephone calls to "thank people who have supported me," he said. "That’s a very long list."

And after meeting with campaign manager Justin Miller to talk about what’s next — forming a transition team to take over the county helm from fellow Democrat Peter Corroon in January — McAdams planned to fulfill a pre-campaign promise: to take his older kids fishing.

"My kids have been begging to go," he said. "I want to find a place to go fishing and fulfill a promise six months in the making."

Voters embraced the campaign promises he made during that time frame, giving the Democratic state senator a larger-than-anyone-forecast 55 percent to 45 percent win over Republican Mark Crockett, a Holladay businessman.

McAdams, 37, said his internal polls had given him a 4 percent edge through the campaign’s last month. Crockett also went into Election Day thinking he was about 4 points ahead.

But seeing Tuesday night’s results, McAdams said, "in the last week, undecided voters were making up their minds and they broke 2-to-1 our way. We surged in the last week."

He also thinks he may have benefited, like President Barack Obama did nationally, from having courted Hispanic voters during the campaign.

Crockett said he did not know how he fared among that demographic group, but acknowledged, "Ben did a good job cultivating that community. The Republican Party has done a bad job historically of reaching out to people of color."

What hurt him most, the GOP challenger said, was that he did not receive as much benefit as expected from sharing the Republican ticket with presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the first Mormon to top a major-party ticket in seeking the White House and former leader of Salt Lake City’s successful 2002 Winter Olympics.

"Turnout was about 40,000 less than we anticipated," Crockett said. Unofficial figures from the Salt Lake County clerk showed 78 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

McAdams looked at the voting numbers differently. What stood out to him was that his 183,388-vote total was 51,000 more than Obama received in the county, while Crockett collected 48,000 fewer votes than Romney.

Roughly "50,000 people who voted for Romney crossed over and voted for me," McAdams said. "That’s pretty significant. Our working theory is that my message of me being someone who works across party lines resonated with people."

After winning his third six-year, at-largeCounty Council term, Democrat Jim Bradley congratulated McAdams for joining the county team after three years in the Utah Senate and time as an adviser to Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker.

"I said we have a lot to talk about," said Bradley. "He’s not going to need much advice, just a good transition, which I’m sure [Corroon] will provide. We have a lot to do, so we have to hit the road running" when the new administration enters office in January.

Bradley said he never worked harder on a campaign. "We had to look over our shoulders for the Romney effect. We survived it pretty well. That says to me that Salt Lake is a Democratic county and getting more so."

More evidence: Sam Granato’s 16-point victory over Missy Larsen in the council’s District 4 (northeast Salt Lake County) election, keeping that seat in Democratic hands after Jani Iwamoto decided not to run again.

On other county fronts:

• Millcreek incorporation opponent Roger Dudley basked in the 59 percent to 41 percent defeat of the proposal to make that community a city. That margin was similar to results of a poll four years ago, he said, showing "the same level of resistance to incorporation. A supermajority of citizens continue to say we like the way Salt Lake County continues to deliver our government services."

But Dudley is convinced incorporation supporters will try again. One, Mary Ann Strong, said that is likely — and should be. "It takes a while for people to understand the issues and that we don’t have a voice about issues in our own neighborhoods."

While Strong doesn’t know if she would help lead the charge again, "there are enough people who want decisions to be made locally that the issue will come up again."

• With voter approval of a $47 million bond proposal, county officials are looking to sell the bonds early next year.

Knowing money will be available, County Parks and Recreation officials will begin work immediately to upgrade the Jordan River Parkway and Parleys Trail and to negotiate the purchase of the old Hercules property for a regional park in Magna.

Division spokesman Martin Jensen said preparing detailed designs on regional parks in Draper, Bluffdale and Kearns will take most of 2013. Construction will start the next year and is forecast to be completed in time for public use in 2016 or ’17, depending on whether lawns are planted or sodded.


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Looking ahead

P Mayor-elect Ben McAdams will be in the Salt Lake County Council chambers at 11 a.m. Thursday when outgoing Mayor Peter Corroon presents his 2013 budget proposal.

Still counting

Another 43,699 absentee, mail-in and provisional ballots remain to be included in Salt Lake County’s final tabulations of Tuesday’s election, County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said late Wednesday afternoon.

Those ballots’ results will figure into the final vote totals presented Nov. 20 to the County Council, acting as the official Board of Canvassers, once the Clerk’s Office certifies the validity of each ballot.

“It was amazing what a great turnout we had,” said Swensen, predicting that with these additional ballots added onto those counted Tuesday, Salt Lake County could end up with 87 percent of registered voters participating in the election.

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