Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Ben McAdams, Mayor of Salt Lake County, Democratic candidate for the 4th congressional district of Utah, and his wife Julie welcome supporters at a Utah Democratic Party ballot at the Radisson Salt Lake City on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. McAdams Das Race against reigning Republican Mia Love, R-Utah, was too close at the end of the night.
SALT LAKE CITY – If Mayor of Salt Lake County, Ben McAdams, travels to Washington in January, 1,100 Democratic Party leaders from the district will decide who is best placed to run for the remaining two years of his term.
The congressional race is still too close, but until Friday night McAdams maintained a narrow margin of 2.3 percentage points over Rep. Mia Love. However, there are thousands of District 4 ballots that still have to be counted.
It would appear that at least some currently elected government officials have an interest in occupying the mayor's place should he win and leave for the East. And recently, US Senate candidate Jenny Wilson defeated one of them.
Salt Lake County Democratic Party leader Q. Dang said the replacement process, which is being overseen by the County Party, would begin with a statement from the Salt Lake County Council that they have accepted McAdams's resignation.
This notification would start a 30-day timer so that the county party can give the council a name. Dang said the party would give the potential candidate ten days to put their names to the test and about two weeks to campaign for the leaders who form the party's central committee. The electors of this committee include democratically elected officials whose constituencies are within the district boundaries, party officials, as well as the presidents and deputy chairmen of the electoral districts.
The race is open so basically any Democrat based in Salt Lake County can participate.
At the end of the election campaign, elections would be held to reduce the list of candidates to one. Dang said assuming that there were more than three candidates, the election would take place in two rounds, with the first two match starters going from round one to second round, where the winner would win by a simple majority vote. The winning candidate would then be submitted to the County Council for approval, which is essentially a process.
Dang said party officials are "very excited" about the prospect of a possible replacement election, as this is only necessary if the party can successfully bring a Democrat back into the federal state's federal delegation. If successful, McAdams would be the first since Jim Matheson resigned in 2012 after six terms in Congress.
Democratic Councilor Jim Bradley, who was ready for re-election this cycle and currently has a 13-point advantage over Republican challenger Sophia Dicaro, said he may be interested in the Mayor's work if it becomes available. He also noted that two of his County County counterparts are likely to blame their name should McAdams ultimately win in his District 4 race.
"I have heard from both Arlen (Bradshaw) and Jenny (Wilson) that they are interested," Bradley said. "I have to believe that they would be front-runners if they decided to do it, I would call myself interested, but lukewarm at this point."
Bradshaw said he received positive feedback from constituents and would consider pursuing an open mayor's seat.
"Since Tuesday, I have received encouragement from many members of our community to seek the office of district mayor," Bradshaw said in a statement. I would like to seriously consider letting Congress decide whether or not to appoint his untitled term. "
Wilson also noticed her interest until a victory for McAdams was due.
"After working with Mayor McAdams for several years, I know he will be a wonderful congressman and look forward to a positive outcome," Wilson said in a statement. "When we get the final results, I'm sure I'll take a close look at how I can best serve Salt Lake County."
Bradley said he expects a strong interest in occupying McAdams' place should he vacate the pitch, but would not predict that the opening would entail a crush of contestants.
"I can not see more than a handful, maybe half a dozen candidates for it," Bradley said. "Four or five solid candidates and maybe a few boring hopefuls."