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Richard Piatt Reporting Salt Lake County Mayor Nancy Workman's approval rating appears to be suffering because of recent investigations in her office. That's the way it looks, according to a recent Dan Jones poll for KSL and the Deseret Morning News.
Nancy Workman could still recover by Election Day; there's plenty of time left in the campaign season. But for now it appears a criminal investigation and Guzzle Gate have indeed affected her.
Right now, Mayor Nancy Workman gets a 31 percent approval from 370 people polled in the most recent poll. Democrat challenger Peter Corroon is nipping at her heels with 28 percent. And Merrill Cook, running with no party affiliation, is gathering 12 percent, with 25per cent undecided.
Compare that to a similar poll Jones did in May when Workman was nine points higher and the undecideds were ten points fewer.
Political observers agree, Workman's popularity is taking a hit in light of the county car and gas-use scandal; and a criminal investigation over the hiring of an employee approved by Workman to work for her daughter at a Boys and Girl's club.
Now, one of the challengers for Workman's job--Merrill Cook--sees an opening. He is running without party affiliation in the race.
Merrill Cook, (U) Candidate for SL Co. Mayor: "An incumbent hovering around 30 percent is a damaged incumbent. And I think independent, republicans that want a conservative alternative are really going to come to our campaign."
Democrat challenger Peter Corroon also stands to benefit, but refuses to appear predatory about Workman's troubles.
Peter Corroon, (D) Candidate For SL Co. Mayor: "We're not planning on focusing on the negatives in that administration, we're planning on focusing on the positives of what our administration would be."
Meantime, Workman announced a new campaign manager, Republican Party executive director Chris Bleak. Denying her campaign needs 'help', party officials were again heavily supportive to questions about the probe.
Workman says she actually welcomes the investigation, confident in her ability to be re-elected.
Nancy Workman, Salt Lake County Mayor: “Oh, I think so, when people realize about the job we’ve done and how we car about providing the services we provide.”
Workman wants to stress her efforts to keep property taxes low and services high in the county. But it remains to be seen if that's what voters will be focusing on come November.