clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Republicans pull ahead in near-final vote tallies

FILE: Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, may hold his House District 32 seat, even though he lagged behind Democratic challenger Suzanne Harrison by 195 votes on election night.
FILE: Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, may hold his House District 32 seat, even though he lagged behind Democratic challenger Suzanne Harrison by 195 votes on election night.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — One election night, Democrats were on track to gain four seats in the Utah Legislature and take majority control of the Salt Lake County Council.

Since then, three Republicans have made comebacks.

The results of at least 60,000 more votes were released Friday, which clerks say will be the last major batch of counted ballots before the Tuesday canvass deadline.

The Friday update indicated Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, may hold his House District 32 seat, even though he lagged behind Democratic challenger Suzanne Harrison by 195 votes on election night.

Christensen, one of the House's most outspoken conservatives, could still lose his lead. As of Friday, he was ahead by only six votes.

The razor-thin race will hinge on about 200 outstanding ballots that have yet to be counted in Salt Lake County, according to Rozan Mitchell, the county's elections director. Results will be final Tuesday.

For GOP Salt Lake County Council incumbent Richard Snelgrove, however, the odds look solid.

Though Snelgrove fell behind Democratic challenger Catherine Kanter by more than 5,000 votes on election night, he's gained traction with each update since, flipping the race and now leading by 13,405 votes.

Snelgrove has attributed his late momentum to early Democratic turnout, while most Republicans waited until the final days before Election Day to cast their ballots, perhaps conflicted by the presidential race.

"I'm honored for the privilege to serve once again," the at-large councilman said. "It was a hard-fought campaign against a very worthy opponent."

Kanter conceded Friday evening, congratulating Snelgrove on his win.

"While we didn't win this race, I'm incredibly proud of our campaign and the work we did to bring attention to the critical challenges facing our community," Kanter said.

"Our team left nothing on the table. We tackled this race with a sincere commitment to improve the lives of the residents of Salt Lake County. For that, I am exceptionally grateful," she said.

Snelgrove raised nearly $83,000 in campaign contributions, but Kanter's campaign raised more than triple that, taking in over $260,000, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

As for other races, House District 44 Rep. Bruce Cutler, R-Murray, was losing to Democratic challenger Christine Passey by 226 votes on election night, but the race flipped last week. As of Friday, Cutler's lead had widened to 275 votes.

Another Republican also appears to be on track to take a Democratic seat on the House. In House District 69, GOP candidate Christine Watkins has maintained her election night lead, now ahead of Rep. Brad King, D-Price, by 354 votes.

In two House races, however, Democrats are on track to take Republican seats.

In House District 31, Democrat Elizabeth Weight leads Rep. Sophia DiCaro, R-West Valley City, by 228 votes. In House District 34, Democrat Karen Kwan leads Republican Macade Jensen 54 percent to 46 percent to take the place of retiring Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville.