Brian G. Russell – M.A., Master of Business Administration, 1997
Ogden Standard Examiner
A heated mayoral race between two city council members drew long lines of voters Tuesday in North Ogden, where voter turnout climbed to almost 34 percent. Residents there elected City Councilman Brent Taylor as their new mayor. Taylor took 57 percent of the vote to beat out fellow Councilman Wade Bigler in a contest that had grown particularly contentious when old emails surfaced showing that Bigler called into question Taylor’s military record and business background. Taylor, 34, did two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard, rising to the rank of first lieutenant and receiving the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. But Bigler, a seminary instructor for the LDS Church, said Taylor had only been a private and was not “the big leader that you make yourself out to be.” Taylor fired back that Bigler’s accusations were 100 percent false and the “slanderous swiftboating” of his military service was uncalled for. Reached late Tuesday, Taylor expressed the desire to unite the city after such a divisive campaign season. “No matter whose sign you had in the front yard, it’s time to come back together as a city and move on,” Taylor said. “I’ll be looking forward to serving all the residents of the city.” Taylor applauded the hundreds of voters who made the difference by taking the time to vote. Their campaign finance disclosures, filed in late October, showed donations to Taylor totaling $10,918, and $6,969 to Bigler. In addition to choosing a new mayor, North Ogden voters had two open council seats to fill. Of the four candidates who ran — Phillip Swanson, Lynn Satterthwaite, Brian Russell and James Urry — Satterthwaite was the top vote- getter with 1,778 votes, with Russell close behind at 1,655. Urry was a very close third at 1,644 and could possibly request a recount. Ogden had two competitive city council races, and newcomer Marcia White handily won one of them with 64 percent of the vote, outpacing Steven Thompson for the at-large A seat that incumbent Susie Van Hooser left open by not seeking re-election. White attributed her victory to “a lot of hard work.” “We had good volunteers and a lot of energy behind my campaign,” White said. “That good energy put us over the edge.” In the Ward 3 race, incumbent Doug Stephens took 56 percent of the vote to gain a third term, surviving a robust challenge from newcomer Turner Bitton, who is vice president of the Weber County Democratic Party. “My emphasis has been to be positive and progressive,” Stephens said, crediting Bitton with focusing on the issues during the campaign. “I believe Ogden is going through a great renaissance.” White, a health-care consultant, won the at-large seat with a 12 percent voter turnout, while there was a 13 percent turnout in the Ward 3 race, two other Ogden City Council races suddenly became uncontested last week, after two contenders were disqualified for failure to file campaign finance reports on time. After months of campaigning, Courtney White and Pamela Stevens were eliminated because they missed the Oct. 29 deadline to turn in their paperwork, leaving incumbents Bart Blair and Neil Garner to coast to easy victories Tuesday in the at-large B and Ward 1 races, respectively. Riverdale’s all vote-by-mail election drew a 33 percent turnout, putting Councilman Norm Searle into the mayor’s office. Searle beat out Alan Arnold with 57 percent of the vote. About 15 percent of South Ogden voters turned out to re-elect incumbent Mayor James Minster with 59 percent of the vote. The Washington Terrace turnout reached almost 23 percent, and voters there returned incumbent Mayor Mark Allen to office for his fourth term. Allen took 60 percent of the vote to beat out challenger Warren Vaughn. Farr West voters also reelected an incumbent mayor. With a 28 percent turnout, Lee Dickemore won 53 percent of the vote to defeat challenger Ken Phippen. In West Haven, 25 percent of voters cast ballots, putting Councilwoman Sharon Bolos in the mayor’s office. Harrisville voters also elected a new mayor. With a 26 percent turnout, two-term Councilman Bruce Richins took 56 percent of the vote. In Marriott-Slaterville, 38 percent of the voters gave incumbent Mayor Keith Butler an easy win over challenger Randy Phipps with 83 percent of the vote. Butler is 83 years old and has led the city since its 1999 incorporation. Plain City voters also showed up in droves — a 35 percent turnout — to elect Councilman Bruce Higley as their new mayor. In Pleasant View, Councilman Toby Mileski ousted incumbent Mayor Doug Clifford with 55 percent of the vote. Turnout there was 14 percent.