BY REBECCA PALMER
FARMINGTON — Incumbent County Commissioner John Petroff handily defeated Democratic challenger Steve Andersen Tuesday with more than 68 percent of the vote.
Republican Petroff, a former mayor of West Point, said the election “reaffirmed that we were doing the right thing” in terms of taking on debt for flood infrastructure and public buildings.
Andersen, a highly successful businessman, spent most of his campaign criticizing the debt and county commissioner salaries, which are high in comparison with some other counties around Utah.
“The issues have not been put to bed for the county yet,” he said on Wednesday. “I have a lot of people, even today, say, ‘You’re the first Democrat I’ve voted for in a long time.’”
Andersen disagrees that the election results prove support for county bonding decisions, saying straight-party voting here is hard to defeat.
“(Taxing the future) will not work in Davis County and it will not work in Washington,” he said. “George Washington lost 11 battles and won the war. The war is that we get responsible on debt.”
In his second four-year term, Petroff hopes to see more jobs in Davis County, especially in the construction industry.
Having the presidential elections out of the way should help that, he said, although he would have preferred that Mitt Romney be elected to the high office over Democrat Barack Obama.
“We have a president who was fairly elected and we need to go out and make the best of it,” he said. “The decision has been made С hopefully that will unlock some of the businesses.”
Petroff also expects to hear more requests for trails in his next term, and plans to continue participating in the Wasatch Front Regional Council, northern Utah’s road construction planning organization.
Few capital projects are in the planning stages, but a new library in Kaysville will be built and paid for in cash within a couple of years Petroff said.
During his first term, Petroff supported borrowing money to build the new county administration building and to build infrastructure. He also supported paying cash for a new health building and library.
Andersen said borrowing the millions of dollars required for those projects was the wrong path for the county.
Future revenues are unknown, he said, so shouldering future residents with the burden of choices made today is unwise.
On Wednesday, Petroff said he was grateful for the 69,622 votes cast in his support and called his opponent “a good man and an honest man,” but one with whom he disagreed on a few things.
“I’m excited about continuing to move forward,” Petroff said. “When you get into an election cycle, you almost put your expectations on hold. You start to work on a day-to-day mentality.”
J. Dell Holbrook was Davis Couunty’s last Democratic Commissioner from 1991 to 1994. He ran again against Petroff in 2008, but was defeated. Like Andersen, Holbrook criticized county spending and taxation.
In 1989, Doug Lawrence was a Democratic Commissioner for the county. There have been only two Democrats in the office in 57 years.