The Year of The Woman Candidate and the Role of Her Spouse
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
It is the year of the woman candidate in Weber County. Of the 15 cities with an election, only Farr West and Huntsville are void of a female candidate. Behind many of these motivated women are men helping campaign. In some cases, he is the silent partner moving behind the scenes, staking signs, in other races he is just as vocal at the candidate, whether it be on social media or in the door-to-door battle.
No where is this more evident than in the case of Ogden mayoral candidate Angel Castillo. Her partner, Heath Satow, can be a very polarizing figure when discussing the candidate. The couple settled in Ogden nearly two-years-ago. Satow found a home not only for his family, but for his art, showcased at The Argo House. He’s also carved out a corner on social media. More often than not, Satow use his fingers to spread inspiring, supportive words of Castillo, but sometime her detractors get the best of him.
“People don’t realize that all the love and support the candidate gets, the outpouring from the community is truly amazing, but behind the scenes, the trolls come out in force. And it’s really taxing to see so many lies said about them that it eventually wears you down,” explains Satow.
This week a whisper campaign questioning Castillo’s credentials crept around the brutal social media streets. Satow reacted on a well-known Ogden Facebook page calling a critic “psycho”, the fallout from some was immediate. Satow later apologized saying his words are not a reflection of Castillo, “People forget that the person running is not the same person as their partner, opposites attract. Angel is patient and well spoken, a total person who loves interacting with as many people as possible every day.”
Satow calls himself a “hermit”, reminding people he is not running, his partner is the one on the ballot. “As a partner, all you want to do is support them as best you can, and sometimes you break and you fail and it’s crushing.”
While Castillo is the candidate, Satow has been at nearly all her events, helping to answer questions on her live videos as well as being her champion on social media.
Dale Anderson is another husband working side-by-side with his partner to make this election season a success. Julie Anderson spent the last six months campaigning for one of North Ogden’s four-year city council seats. Those living in the area will often see Anderson driving his old-fashioned horse and buggy adorned with ‘Vote Julie Anderson’ signs. “I’m the one putting out signs, driving the team around, doing the physical stuff. Julie is at the computer working the numbers and writing the words. We’re a good team.”
This couple has a history of legislating together, writing Aubree Jo’s Law which worked to give more rights to fathers during a custody dispute. The law is named for their granddaughter, killed after her mother was awarded custody, and blacked out while driving high on drugs.
This time, Anderson is the mostly-silent partner as Julie runs.“She’s the heart, soul, the essence of this campaign. I’ll go to talk for her and I realize I need to let her be Julie. That’s been a challenge,” says Anderson.
He’s stayed away from the campaign controversy playing out in North Ogden as five candidates formed a sort of coalition. Mostly he shares Julie’s campaign videos hoping to beat the group without a war of words, “I had to try and restrain myself. I don’t want to hurt her. If I do something bad, I would hurt her.”
While Anderson held back, Tim Fiveash didn’t see a need to edit himself. “I’m just who I am. Sometimes that works in her benefit and sometimes it doesn’t. When I’m out with her I’m usually on my best behavior anyway.”
Jessica Fiveash is running against three men, and unlike some of the other races in Weber County, the mudslinging was kept to a minimum. This made it easier for Fiveash to enjoy helping his wife campaign, “I like seeing her step out with things she’s not comfortable with but knows she’d be good at.”
Harrisville has a crowded field with six candidates vying for three vacant seats, Austin Tracy Moffitt is one of three women who made it through the August primary. This isn’t Moffitt’s first race, she served on the city council filling a mid-term seat from 2016-2017. Married only a year ago, this experience is all new for Moffitt’s husband Scott. “The man had never voted before, he wasn’t political,” says Moffitt, “Now he goes to city council meetings. If he can’t make it, he calls me as soon as it’s done and asks me what happened.”
Growing pains explain why so many are running in Harrisville, particularly with the possibility of high-density housing taking over the defunct Ben Lomond Golf Course. This issue pushed Scott into the political ring, supporting his wife’s run, “He just thought it was just another one of those crazy things I do. The golf course was really eye opening for him, to see all that’s involved,” says Moffitt.
West Haven, a small country town to the west of I-15, is also looking at major changes revolving around high-density housing. This led to Nina Morse jumping into the fray this election cycle. Morse spends her days “communicating” for a living, she also worked on a number of elections so the idea of going door-to-door, shaking hands and talking issues wasn’t intimidating; not the case for her husband Nate. A self-described introvert, the idea of his wife becoming a political candidate was a “nightmare”.
“Imagine being on an airplane with your best friend; casually flying through the air with a specific destination, somewhere tropical, nice beach, plenty of delicious food and being fully pampered. Now imagine your friend casually looks over at you and tells you they know a different place. In order to get there, you’ll need to fly through a thunderstorm with incredible turbulence. When we get there, we’ll need to build it all ourselves, but it will be worth it in the end. That’s what it’s like to be married to a political candidate,” Morse succinctly sums up the explanation of what the experience has been like for him.
Despite his tendency to stay out of the limelight, he’s supported his wife’s run, playing the role of sounding board, “We spend a lot of hours talking, sometimes with anger, sometimes with tears, but always with hope. In the end, it will all be worth it.”
Twenty-six women, win or lose, will breathe a sigh of relief tomorrow when results for the election are posted. For a number of those, their significant other will most likely breathe a bigger sigh of blissful relief, forgetting that it’s just the next phase in an election. Dale Anderson said it best, “We win some, we lose some but we won’t die on the battlefield.”