Today American Fork City Council candidate Austin Duke submitted the required notarized affidavit at the City Recorder’s office to withdraw his name from the November general election ballot.
He cited “unforeseen personal and family considerations.”
He finished fifth among nine candidates in the September 5 primary election, which advanced six candidates for three available seats on the council. In withdrawing he endorsed three of the candidates who finished ahead of him: Clark Taylor, Ernie John, and Tim Holley. These, he wrote, “are committed to what I believe is good and wise local government.”
Here is the statement he posted on social media and sent to AFelection.info:
Is it just me, or has Election Day lost most of its sizzle, what with the meaningful vote count continuing for days thereafter — technically, weeks — and some doubt as to many of the results for a while? I used to jump in to report election results on Election Night, but now, well, it’s Friday, as you see. Here are some primary results.
This is the post where I tell you what I think of our current American Fork City Council candidates and how I plan to vote in next Tuesday’s primary election. I get three votes; there are three council seats up for election this year. The primary will narrow the field to six for the general election in late November. The terms are four years, beginning in January.
Please note: If you visit this site for information only and prefer to avoid opinion, as some readers do, you’ll want to avoid this post. If you feel that all of our political discourse should be sweetness and light, you’ll want to avoid this post. But I’ll be as positive as I can.
I know some candidates fairly well, but others I didn’t know at all, except their names, until about a week and a half ago. I got a late start this year, and the best I can do is tell you what I think so far. In some cases information we’ve published here, plus my conversations at last Monday’s candidate open house, constitute all I know.
There are nine candidates for American Fork City Council in September’s primary election. The top six will advance to the general election in November, to compete for three available seats. Terms are four years. Here are notes on interviews with the candidates.
Three of five seats on the American Fork City Council are up for election this year. The term is four years, and the other two seats and the mayor will be up for election in 2025.
Ten candidates filed during the June 1-7 filing period, but one has since withdrawn. Of the nine remaining, only one, Clark Taylor, is an incumbent. Another, Jeff Shorter, served on the council previously. He was first elected in 2013.
The primary election will narrow the field to six (two per seat). However, candidates don’t run for specific seats or from specific districts. The winners will simply be the six (in the primary), then the three (in the general election) who get the most votes. The winners’ will be sworn in just after New Year’s Day.
Here’s an important note, of which more below: municipal primary and general elections have been postponed statewide. They’ll be a few weeks later than usual.
On January 9 the American Fork City Council appointed Clark Taylor to fill the vacancy Brad Frost left on the council when he was sworn in as mayor the previous week, after winning in the November election. Frost was two years into his second term on the council, so the appointment is for the remaining two years of that four-year term.
Utah law provides for the council to fill such a vacancy. The City announced the vacancy in December, took applications until January 5, then heard from each applicant in the January 9 meeting, before choosing Taylor unanimously on the first ballot.
The other applicants were:
Jeff Shorter, who lost in the November general election, running as a one-term incumbent;
Kyle Barratt, who lost in the November general election;
George Brown, who served on the council several terms ago and has since run unsuccessfully for mayor;
I don’t know how much back-channel discussion went on among council members in the days prior to the vote, or what additional contact any of them might have had with applicants or with Mayor Frost. (There’s no reason for it not to have occurred, but anything involving at least three of them at a time would have to have been noticed in advance and treated as a public meeting.) I didn’t speak about the process or the vote on the record with any of the council; nor did I speak with the candidates themselves. Nor, for that matter, am I acquainted with all of them. However, I thought the result was predictable.
Clark Taylor has served on the council twice before, as recently as two years ago, and is known to be a workhorse and to work well with others. His name has been tossed about in the past as a strong potential mayoral candidate. Such a congenial, energetic workhorse would have great appeal to the rest of the council and the mayor, coming in the wake of four years during which some members of the council were known to be less than energetic in accepting and fulfilling committee assignments.
So I thought the outcome was predictable, given that Taylor’s name was on the list. And the unanimous first ballot is noteworthy, but — at least for me — no surprise.
All of that said, there were other strong candidates in the field. The tougher the decision, the luckier we are.
So . . . thanks to all who applied, and congratulations to Councilman Taylor.
Audio recordings of the October 7 city council debate in American Fork are available here, separated by question. The American Fork Chamber of Commerce also posted a single, long video recording of the event. This post is not intended to substitute for listening or watching, nor is it a play-by-play. I’ll tell you some of the things the candidates said and some of the things I think. So you are duly warned that this post contains more opinion than objective reportage.
I’ll link to a few audio segments and suggest that you listen to them. The full set is available at the link above.
Your comments are welcome, of course, and you certainly don’t have to agree with me.
The four candidates for city council on my ballot — it arrived today, and I checked — are Barbara Christiansen, incumbent Jeff Shorter, Kyle Barratt, and Staci Carroll. (I list them in the order in which they were seated at the event, alphabetically by first name. And I’ll use their first names here, to simplify your connections between these notes and the recordings.) Continue reading
Here’s an updated report of primary election results, based on updated counts released this afternoon. There will be further updates — by state law, on Tuesdays and Fridays — before the official canvass on Tuesday, August 29, but the votes added in subsequent updates will likely be far fewer.
The big news for American Fork voters is that the outcome of the city council race changed. Incumbent city councilor Jeff Shorter moved into fourth place ahead of Ernie John by 27 votes, pushing the latter out of the general election, if the result holds. This isn’t a big surprise; in Tuesday’s results the margin was a mere nine votes.
I’ve been waiting to post local election results, hoping for numbers more recent than 10:09 p.m. on election night — given that most of the ballots were mailed, and a lot of them presumably didn’t arrive in time to be counted on Tuesday evening.
I finally called the county clerk’s office, where I learned that state law requires them to publish updated numbers on Fridays and Tuesdays, until the final canvass two weeks after election day. They said they might publish an update sooner, but so far they haven’t.
Today American Fork City Council candidate Austin Duke withdrew his name from the November general election ballot, citing "unforeseen personal and family considerations" and endorsing Clark Taylor, Ernie John, and Tim Holley.