Here on my thoughts on the races on my November 2017 general election ballot.
US House of Representatives, Utah District 3
In the special election to fill the latter half of former Congressman Jason Chaffetz’s term, there are three candidates of note.
Provo Mayor John Curtis is a sterling example of conservative governance — and not the ideologically poisoned kind some seek. His Democrat opponent has tried to paint him as a Donald Trump sycophant, but he and President Trump aren’t even on the same planet, as far as I can tell. Curtis will win, and he’ll be a big step up from Congressman Chaffetz. Always replace a show horse with a workhorse, when you can.
Democrat nominee Dr. Kathie Allen will get buried. She wants the government to take over health care, by enrolling everyone in Medicare, because it’s so efficient and effective for the people it presently serves. Speaking of different planets . . .
United Utah Party nominee Jim Bennett, son of the late Senator Bob Bennett, might have made it interesting, if the Republican nominee had been the fractious ideologue, Chris Herrod. His relatively moderate, pox-on-both-their-parties platform and more polished manner could have gained some good traction. And I’d have voted for him. As it is, he’s just a mildly interesting sideshow. But I wish his party well.
The race for second place might be interesting, though irrelevant. The race for first place will be the opposite, uninteresting and relevant.
Prediction: Mayor Curtis by a country mile. It’s a Republican district.
American Fork Mayor
Two current city councilors are vying for two-term Mayor James H. Hadfield’s open seat.
Councilman Brad Frost got 85% of the primary vote, and he gets my vote. He’s hard working, communicative, intelligence, and personable. The lopsided primary result has caused this campaign to fade somewhat into the background, and he may get 90% of the general election vote, but wise voters don’t take such things for granted.
Councilman Carlton Bowen has a well-established reputation, after four years on the council, of being contentious, obstructionist, and unprepared. I don’t know him outside of politics; he may be a fine person. But he isn’t cut from mayoral cloth.
For further discussion, see my notes on the mayoral primary debate, and for a larger view of some of the problems for which he has become a poster child — such as getting the numbers wrong and not connecting the dots, see more general new essay at FreedomHabit.com, “Water Bills, Fees, and Our Politics,” and the follow-up, “Good Numbers, Bad Numbers.”
Prediction: Brad Frost. Then the interesting question will be, who will apply to fill the rest of his council term, and which applicant will the council pick? (Councilman Bowen is at the end of his term, so if he were to win, he would leave no vacant seat.)
American Fork City Council
I said before the primary that we had a particularly strong field of candidates; this is even more the case after the primary. There are four candidates and no bad choices among them. Voters get two votes each, and the two winners take the two available seats.
Barbara Christiansen has a steady temperament, an abundance of common sense, well-proven communication skills, and a broad and deep understanding not only of current issues, but of the history of issues for the last couple of decades. This combination is immensely valuable, and she has one of my votes.
Staci Carroll has outworked most of her rivals, thinks sensibly about issues, and has developed mature political skills and instincts through growing up in a political household — her father is former State Senator John Valentine — and through service on a consequential City committee. She is communicative, enthusiastic, and energetic, and I think she’ll be a fine addition to the council. She has my other vote.
Kyle Barratt comes from a long and honorable family tradition of public service. He is well educated and clearly enjoys studying and analyzing policy. I believe he has the tools and temperament to succeed if elected. He and I have much different views of pressurized irrigation, for example, and of the related work past leaders and staff did in bringing it to pass, but it’s not as if he wants to dismantle the system, now that we have it. I like council members who dig into the details of policy; I’m sure he’ll do that. If the two candidates I already voted for weren’t in the race, I’d be delighted and relieved to be able to vote for him. And he may be a more appealing candidate than they are, to a substantial number of voters whose views more resemble his than mine. If he doesn’t win, we may hope he will run again.
Incumbent Councilman Jeff Shorter brings his legal experience and insights to the table, as well as mature insight, a steady temperament, and four years’ experience in the office he seeks. I think he overdoes his opposition to debt, and I opposed him four years ago, but unlike the other new councilman elected in 2013, Carlton Bowen, he rose quickly to the call and has served well. I wouldn’t lose any sleep at all over his reelection, and there have been elections in recent memory where I would have been glad and relieved to vote for him too. He has said that he would like to serve one more term, but no more.
Numerous posts at AFelection.info will help you learn more about these candidates, including several posts with questions (mine) and answers (theirs), audio from two debates, my own analysis and commentary, John Mulholland’s interviews, and more. Feel free to browse around; the whole point is to learn before you vote. And by all means, be reluctant to take our work for it. Contact the candidates and judge for yourself.
Prediction: Christiansen and Carroll, probably in that order — because they finished well ahead of the other two in the primary, and the turnout was relatively high. Ordering third and fourth is a tougher call. Barratt would seem to have the inside track on third, because he finished there in the primary.
Thanks to all our candidates for sending us answers to questions, and more importantly for running. It’s not a small thing. It’s not an easy thing. In fact, the last days of a campaign can be especially challenging in ways we may not see, as I describe in an essay entitled, “In Praise of Candidates (and Their Friends and Families).”
Thanks to more than 2,200 of you for reading here this summer and fall. Special thanks to anyone who has commented on these posts or shared links to them on social media or elsewhere.
We’ll be back with election results when there are some. And if candidates send any missing answers to questions, we’ll post those too, as quickly as possible.
Please don’t forget: If you’re mailing your ballot, it must be postmarked no later than Monday, November 6.