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Shireen Ghorbani, Jenny Wilson Enter Growing Race For Salt Lake County Mayor

Photo of Jenny Wilson.
Julia Ritchey / KUER
Jenny Wilson announces her run for county mayor on Nov. 30.

Updated 12/3/18 


Democrat Shireen Ghorbani announced on Saturday she’ll be running for Salt Lake County mayor, joining Jenny Wilson among candidates interested in completing the term of Congressman-elect Ben McAdams.

In a statement, Ghorbani said she had informed members of the Salt Lake County Democratic Party’s central committee of her decision before announcing publicly.

“I have not been ‘considering’ whether or not to run for county mayor. I knew the minute the results for Ben McAdams were final that I would run,” she said.


Ghorbani lost her bid in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District last month against two-term Republican incumbent Chris Stewart. Ghorbani noted, however, that she won a majority of votes in Salt Lake County.

“County government is where the rubber meets the road,” she said. “I want to build on the progress we’ve seen at the county and move forward with new ideas and enthusiasm.”

Her announcement follows Jenny Wilson’s, who declared her candidacy on Friday in front of a crowd of cheering friends and supporters at the county’s government building.

Like Ghorbani, Wilson lost her own bid for U.S. Senate last month against Mitt Romney. But Wilson said her two terms on the Salt Lake County Council made her well-suited for the role.

“One of the great things about this campaign is I get to do my day job while campaigning,” she said. “And work on the very same issues I would whether I’m serving in the council chamber or in the mayor’s office.”

Wilson and Ghorbani will officially file paperwork in January after Mayor Ben McAdams tenders his resignation to go to Washington, where he’ll serve as congressman for Utah’s 4th District.

Under state law, Salt Lake County Democrats will select a replacement for McAdams in a special election among central committee members, who number about 1,000. That will take place in late January or early February.


Wilson said her priorities will be to continue to address growth and affordable housing as well as oversee the implementation of new programs for medical marijuana, homeless shelters and Medicaid expansion.

“I will seek solutions to our rapid growth,” she said. “Like you, we love living in this community and we don’t want this growth to overtake us.”


Julia joined KUER in 2016 after a year reporting at the NPR member station in Reno, Nev. During her stint, she covered battleground politics, school overcrowding, and any story that would take her to the crystal blue shores of Lake Tahoe. Her work earned her two regional Edward R. Murrow awards. Originally from the mountains of Western North Carolina, Julia graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in journalism. She’s worked as both a print and radio reporter in several states and several countries — from the 2008 Beijing Olympics to Dakar, Senegal. Her curiosity about the American West led her to take a spontaneous, one-way road trip to the Great Basin, where she intends to continue preaching the gospel of community journalism, public radio and podcasting. In her spare time, you’ll find her hanging with her beagle Bodhi, taking pictures of her food and watching Patrick Swayze movies.
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