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Richard Piatt ReportingTemperature isn't the only thing that will probably get hotter this summer. The race for Salt Lake City mayor is already showing the symptoms of a hard-fought race, although the candidates spent a patriotic, peaceful day avoiding each other at community events.
People stood in line today on Capitol Hill to talk to Salt Lake City's mayor. For Rocky Anderson, the 4th of July is no picnic--not even at a picnic. Like it or not, every event has implications for this fall's election.
Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City Mayor: "There's a real heartfelt connection with the people in this community. And that's why I'm mayor. I feel this to my very core."
But a neighbor to the Capitol Hill picnickers is challenging the Mayor, Frank Pignanelli. He is seizing on what he calls Anderson's weak spot--abrasiveness.
Frank Pignanelli, Candidate for Salt Lake City Mayor: "It's the style of management. They want less divisiveness in our community. They want someone who listens before a decision is made."
The battle lines are already taking shape around the city. Campaign signs popping up along city streets. One has a name that's popping up more and more. Republican Moloni Hola is hoping to tap into voters who are ready for an underdog.
Moloni Hola, Candidate for Salt Lake City Mayor: "I prefer it that way. Because as you can tell these guys are beating up each other. I'm staying away from that. I have a game plan and I'm the underdog but I prefer that."
Some predictions as the campaign moves through the summer: Look for Anderson to defend his record---and his reputation for being a tough boss.
Rocky Anderson, Salt Lake City Mayor: "I think it's petty, I think it's mean. And it doesn't bear any semblance to reality."
Pignanelli will use political contacts to spread the word.
Frank Pignanelli, Candidate for Salt Lake City Mayor: "People will learn in the coming months that not only is there an alternative person in this race, but there's an alternative way of doing things."
And Hola will take a friendly phrase and try to make it come true.
Moloni Hola, Candidate for Salt Lake City Mayor: "I'm going to make this city a friendly city. Friendly to business, friendly to neighbors, friendly, fun city. "
But not before a tough, bitter race to the October primary.