and WARREN PETTEY
Clipper Staff Writers
CLEARFIELD -- Some outcomes just can't be predicted -- like the fact that incumbent county commissioner Michael Cragun won't be running against Democratic candidate Chris Martinez.
That's because, at least unofficially as the Clipper went to press Monday night, Cragun's chief Republican opponent Alan Hansen garnered 61.76 percent of the vote -- basically a hair over the 60 percent required to eliminate the need for a primary. A huge percentage of delegates attended the convention Saturday at Clearfield High School.
Cragun was unprepared for the ouster, but took the decision philosophically.
Cragun said that until his term is over, he will continue to work hard. He's not sure what the future holds.
"Let's just say I'm keeping my options open," he said. "It (the vote) was a surprise. At the very least I expected us to go to a primary."
"I will miss the people I work with greatly. I did want to continue, but I'm not devastated. This is the way our system works," he said. "Nobody should put their name on a ballot unless they are willing to accept the fact that they could lose."
"It was a surprise," added Commission Chairman Dannie McConkie of the outcome. "I didn't expect it to be that way. I really felt like we had such a committed county official, who puts in such a huge amount of time."
But it was taxation -- or specifically the memory of the proposed 138 percent tax hike nearly two years ago -- that stuck with some delegates. Cragun, in office going on four years, was a part of that commission. Even though the increase was later dropped to 24 percent, some apparently didn't forget, and said they would work to get McConkie and Commissioner Carol Page also relieved of their duties in two more years.
A shirt seen at the convention clearly expressed that sentiment: "I'm 138% sure I'll be voting for Hansen and not Cragun."
Hansen, a former Clearfield city council member, said of the outcome, "I thought it would be a bit closer."
Hansen said among changes he will propose, is moving commission meetings to evenings from mornings, so more people can attend.
"I want to meet the people. Door to door, face to face. Taxes and accountability are a big concern. I want to create a five-year master plan with citizen input. We need a good road map."
Engaged in sales and marketing, the candidate said he will take a leave of absence.
"I'll give Chris (Martinez) a call and say I'm looking forward to debating any issues. I hope he brings up some interesting points."
Cragun had made a last-ditch pitch for support in a speech to convention delegates.
"Most of all, I love the job," he said. The job was complex and learning it took a lot of time and practice. "Protect your investment in me," he said, adding, "Many would have you believe that a budget proposal is the most important thing about this job."
"The people in the convention have spoken. Now, the process moves forward," McConkie said.
Of Cragun, he said further: "He had a big load. He's had the Davis County Health Department, and coordinated with Davis Behavioral Health and animal control (and more).
"He's been a wonderful resource. The finding of fact, the rule of law, he did a lot of that -- has been very helpful," McConkie said of Cragun, a licensed attorney.
"He's very detail-oriented. He read everything, asks all the searching questions until he's satisfied and understand. He has my absolute respect. He's such an honorable man, has such integrity -- he'll really be missed."
Commissioner Carol Page could not be reached for comment.