David Rodeback's Blog

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Monday, June 23, 2008
I Can Vote on Only One Race Tomorrow

I actually considered not voting tomorrow, because my mind was so open, where the State Treasurer race between Richard Ellis and Mark Walker is concerned. Now that I have read the candidates' web sites, I find I have a preference, after all.

There's a Republican primary tomorrow, and I'm a Republican, so my instinct is to go to the polls. I only get to vote on one race, a choice between Richard Ellis and Mark Walker for State Treasurer. Ellis is currently the Deputy Treasurer and has the outgoing Treasurer's endorsement. Walker has served briefly in the Utah Legislature and has the endorsement of several prominent legislators.

There has been some bad blood in the campaign, which you can read about in this Salt Lake Tribune article if you like. Ellis has accused Walker of offering to let him keep his Deputy Treasurer job and take a large salary increase if he will drop out of the race. Apparently, such a favor would be illegal to offer and illegal to solicit.

I spent some time this evening reading both candidates' web sites and a number of online newspaper articles. I came to the question with an open mind, having heard in passing of the accusations but not remembering which candidate was which, and having no preference whatsoever between the two. In fact, I was wondering if I should even bother voting.

For what it's worth, Ellis is 48, and Walker is 32. Ellis has more than a decade of experience in the Treasurer's office, and Walker has "extensive" experience in the private sector. I confess I wonder how many years "extensive" could mean in a 32 year old's professional biography.

As I read, I found myself leaning toward Ellis. It wasn't because of the candidates' respective (alleged) roles in the job offer scandal. It wasn't because of their respective ages or endorsements. It wasn't because Ellis's web site looks more professional than Walker's (though it does).

After half an hour of reading, I favor Ellis principally because I have learned over the years to see clear writing as evidence of clear thinking. Walker's web site seems to be more heat than light. He promises things that only a legislator could deliver, I think, and indulges in long lists of specialized terms, without bothering to explain them or their relevance. See his "Experience" page, for example.

By contrast, Elllis's web site offers more light than heat. He seems prone to clarity and possessed of a sensible awareness that the Treasurer is not a legislator. He did a nice job in this blog post of sounding like a man who knows what he is talking about, while he explained very clearly that his opponent doesn't know what he's talking about.

I'd be in a better position to judge between the two if I had worked with both of them in their professional capacities for years, but I haven't done so for a single minute. So I'll vote for clarity, in the person of Richard Ellis.

Jared M. Hansen comments (6/24/08):

You have a mistake in one paragraph. You say Walker has more than a decade of experience in the Treasurer's Office. That is incorrect, Ellis has more than a decade of experience in the Treasurer's Office. Just have the wrong candidate's name listed with the wrong experience.

David Rodeback comments (6/24/08):

Thanks for the correction. Apologies for the error. I have corrected it above.

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