Hola Won't Endorse Candidate for SL Mayor

Hola Won't Endorse Candidate for SL Mayor

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Since losing the Salt Lake City mayoral primary, Republican Molonai Hola has been going back and forth on which of the two Democratic candidates he would endorse. He has decided to endorse neither.

"I can honestly say I like both guys," he said Tuesday. "By endorsing, I would be lending my name or (saying) that I approve of their vision. Our visions have been so different. We have different values."

Hola said he opposed the push by Mayor Rockie Anderson and challenger Frank Pignanelli to bring more nightlife downtown and their support for keeping social service providers around Pioneer Park.

Pignanelli and Hola have shared the same goal of mending relationships with leaders from other government agencies, but Hola doesn't think Pignanelli is different enough from Anderson. But he still wants Anderson to be voted out. "I ran to make a change. Any change would be good."

Hola believes his supporters campaign workers won't be energized to work for Pignanelli or Anderson, but he thinks some of his backers will vote for Pignanelli.

Hola had swung from side to side. On Aug. 28, he told The Associated Press he wouldn't mind seeing Anderson in office for a second term while also saying his own candidacy offered the city the best chance for new, more businesslike leadership. Last week, he said the comment had caused him some political grief, and believed his statement wasn't logical. He said he liked Pignanelli, and had been leaning toward supporting him, but was reconsidering.

Pignanelli said Tuesday, "Obviously, I'm disappointed, but I like Molonai; he's a nice guy. He offered a different perspective in the race."

Anderson said he didn't know what impact Hola's non-endorsement will have on the race. He praised Hola for running his campaign with integrity. "He has shown by his resistance to the tremendous political pressure that's been brought to bear ... to get him to endorse my opponent ... he doesn't play political games."

Utah Republican Party Chairman Joe Cannon has endorsed Pignanelli. Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney backs Anderson. A number of other prominent GOP members have backed one or the other.

City Council member Dave Buhler said Tuesday that he was endorsing Pignanelli.

He said Anderson's comments last week about some council members being swayed on the Nordstrom vote by the Mormon church because they are Mormon had crystallized for him why he wants a new mayor.

"For him to attack our integrity is incredible to me," Buhler said at a news conference at City Hall. Such "disrespect ... it's something we've come to learn to expect."

Buhler, who also is running for re-election, was joined by council members Carlton Christensen, Eric Jergensen and Nancy Saxton. Councilwoman Jill Remington Love wasn't at the news conference but supports Pignanelli. Councilmen Dale Lambert and Van Turner are remaining neutral.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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