Many have asked him if would go for a third term, and he said in a Facebook post Thursday that after “thoughtful consideration,” he has opted not to vie again. His county commission post, seat B on the body, is up for grabs this year.
“I feel confident that the politically-motivated investigation will soon be resolved,” he said, alluding to the Ogden Police Department probe. “So I will be staying in office until my good name is cleared or until my term as commissioner ends, whichever comes first.”
Meanwhile, two more hopefuls interested in running for Gibson’s spot have formalized their plans, bringing the number of candidates for the commission post to four. GOPer Scott Jenkins, a former state senator from Plain City, filed papers Monday with the Weber County Elections Office declaring his candidacy, and Democrat Neil Hansen, a former state representative from Ogden, filed papers on March 9.
Gibson, a former Utah House member and dairy farmer from western Weber County, said in his Facebook post that fallout from the investigation has made him and his family “stronger and more united.” Officials haven’t specified the focus of the inquiry, though Gibson has denied any wrongdoing and charged that it was spurred by political foes.
“My family and I continue to hold our heads high,” Gibson said.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said Thursday that the review of the Gibson probe continues and that his office has requested additional information from Ogden police. The Weber County Attorney’s Office, which advises county commissioners, asked Rawlings’ office to handle the review.
‘A BROKEN GOVERNMENT’
Hansen, 58, decided to run for the county commission in part to offer a counterbalance to the domination of the Republican Party in Weber County politics.
When one party dominates, “we get a broken government” without the checks and balances of a system with mixed party representation, said Hansen, who served as the District 9 state representative from 1999 through 2010. “I think it’s time to end the corruption and end the loyalty to party,” he said.
He referenced the Gibson investigation, wondering why no one previously “raised a red flag.” The probe came to public light last December, and Gibson and his advocates have said it stems from Gibson’s involvement as commissioner in a flood mitigation project in western Weber County in the early 2010s.
Jenkins, 67, who served as the District 20 senator from 2001 through 2016, said in January that he was thinking about running for the seat now held by Gibson. Now his plans are solid and he plans to seek the GOP nomination at the Weber County Republican Party convention on April 14.
“I think they need some independent business experience in there,” said Jenkins, who runs Great Western Supply, a plumbing supply firm in Ogden. The commissioners now serving, he said, have backgrounds heavy with government and public-sector experience.
Jenkins decried the controversial 2016 decision by county commissioners to raise property taxes, meant in part to generate money to give raises to Weber County Sheriff’s Office staffers. “I’m all for small government and always have been,” he said.
‘RUN AS A DELEGATE’
Though opting not to run again, Gibson, in his message Thursday, called for participation in the election process, referencing the planned March 20 caucuses of the Weber County Republican Party. That’s when delegates to the GOP county and state conventions, who nominate Republican candidates for the June 26 primary, will be picked.
“Run as a delegate or support those who will represent your values,” he said.
Peter Stirba, Gibson's lawyer, said Thursday that he expects the review by Davis County officials of the Gibson probe will be done “reasonably soon.”