Incumbent Davis County Commission Chairman Gayle A. Stevenson opened an early lead in Tuesday's

Republican primary that varied by a percentage point or two through the night but was never threatened.From the counting of the first votes within a half hour of the closing of the polls, Stevenson set up a comfortable margin over challenger Dan McConkie.

When the last ballots were run through the computer by 11:40 p.m., Stevenson's lead was a solid 58 to 42 percentage points.

Complete but unofficial tabulations gave Stevenson 18,955 votes to 13,737 for McConkie, who was making his first foray into politics.

Stevenson now faces Democratic challenger Nelda Bishop in the November general election.

Tuesday's results may show a change that political observers have been watching for the past couple of county commission elections: The old "gentlemen's" agreement that dictated a geographic balance on the County Commission may be dead.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the dominant Republican party had an unwritten rule that the county commissioners be geographically diverse, representing the county's northern, central and southern sections.

But as the districts reported Tuesday, it became obvious that Stevenson, from Lay-ton, was pulling just as much support from the the county's southern districts, which are the home turf of McConkie, from Bountiful.

Stevenson said he believes his professional background - he's a retired high school principal and administrator in the Davis District - and his name recognition as an incumbent commissioner over the past four years made the difference.

"I'm surprised, a little, at the results. The percentage is greater than I thought," Stevenson said. "I thought it would be a little closer than it was.

"The heavy voter turnout was in my favor. I think that favors an incumbent on the local level, with name recognition," he said. "I think the general election will be a little more low-key than the primary was, but I haven't written it off by a long shot."

McConkie said he feels good about the election, his first run at a political office.

"I feel pretty good about it. We made a pretty good showing, for a rookie.

"It's not such a bad deal. Disappointed? Oh, no. We offered the voters an alternative, which is what we set out to do. In any election, only 50 percent of the contestants win," said McConkie.

McConkie called the campaign a positive experience for himself and his family."We enjoyed it. It was fun. I think it's something I might do again in the future."