The results aren’t final and some close races could still flip, but several mayors of cities across Utah and the Wasatch Front are in trouble of losing their seats.
Here’s a roundup of Utah mayors who are on track or at risk of losing to their challengers:
Summit County’s ski mecca of Park City has seen one of the more dramatic upsets in Utah’s 2021 local elections.
First-term Mayor Andy Beerman is far behind a challenger from the Park City Council, Councilwoman Nann Worel.
Worel led with 60.7% of the vote (1,855 votes) to Beerman’s 38.5% (1,164 votes), according to election night results. Worel kept her 60% lead when Summit County posted more results Wednesday afternoon, giving her 2,010 votes to Beerman’s 1,274.
In the summer of 2020, Beerman was in the middle of a controversy over a Black Lives Matter mural that had been painted at the top of Main Street over the Fourth of July. Even though Park City has been considered one of Utah’s most progressive cities, the mural received backlash, which Summit County’s local newspaper, The Park Record, has detailed in a handful of stories.
In a story published last month as Election Day drew closer, The Park Record reported Beerman did not expect the amount of controversy that would stem from the mural, and apologized in an email to Park City Council members that they were not “better informed” so they could be “prepared to respond to resident inquiries.”
“I will take that blame. I pushed for this project to be hurried, and I did not expect the level of controversy for some. I was caught off guard too,” Beerman wrote in the July 7, 2020, email, according to the Park Record.
The mural controversy continued to haunt Beerman, not necessarily because of its message but because he was accused of not working well enough with the council. Worel was critical of the process that led to the mural, saying it created “division” with no warning for council members, the Park Record reported. She campaigned with the promise of having a “collaborative” leadership style.
On the north end of the Wasatch Front in Davis County, it’s not looking good for Bountiful Mayor Randy Lewis.
Lewis’ challenger, Councilwoman Kendalyn Keyes Harris, is leading the race with about 66% of the vote (8,627 votes) to Lewis’ 33.6% (4,392 votes), according to updated election results posted Wednesday evening.
Lewis took heat last year during a controversy over Bountiful High School’s mascot, the Braves. In response to an email from a Bountiful High School alum who helped organize an effort to change the name, Lewis questioned if she was Indigenous or a spokesperson for Indigenous people before saying he disagreed with the idea.
“If you are not an official representative critic of the “braves” (not brave), do you have evidence that the indigenous people are offended by Bountiful High. I have lived here for 41 years and I have had 6 children graduate from Bountiful High and none of them are embarrassed to have gone there to school,” Lewis wrote in the email to the alum. “This sounds a lot like sheep mentality that follows the (Black Lives Matter) movement. Now is a good time to pile on. Oh and I attended the BLM gathering in Bountiful. I believe we all need to be less easily offended about many things.”
Lewis in a prepared statement later apologized for the “offending comments” and said he would take accountability for his responses.
In Midvale’s ranked choice election, Mayor Robert Hale was caught in a nail-biter with razor thin margins on election night. Thursday evening, as Salt Lake County posted more results, Hale lost his lead and the race flipped, putting his challenger ahead.
With 52.1% of the vote in the second round (2,257 votes), Marcus Stevenson pulled ahead of Hale, who had 47.9% (2,075 votes), according to Salt Lake County’s ranked choice projections.
Hale took office in 2018, becoming Midvale’s first new mayor since longtime former Mayor JoAnn Seghini was first elected in 1998.
Also in Davis County, Syracuse Mayor Mike Gailey is trailing his challenger, Councilman Dave Maughan.
According to updated election results posted Wednesday, Maughan led with 53.9% of the vote (2,841 votes) to Gailey’s 46% (2,428 votes).
It’s a tight race, but Clinton Mayor Mitch Adams is trailing his challenger, Brandon Stranger.
Updated election results posted Wednesday had Stranger leading with 50.7% of the vote (1,916 votes) to Adams’ 49.2% (1,856 votes). Only 60 votes separate the candidates, though that’s almost double the 37 votes that separated them on election night.
In another super close race, Heber City Mayor Kelleen Potter might lose her seat in the booming Wasatch County town that has been on the national radar for in-migration, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Election night results had Potter trailing her challenger, Heidi Franco, by just 2 percentage points. Franco led with 51% (1,664 votes) to Potter’s 48.99% (1,598 votes).
In Iron County, Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson Edwards is in danger of losing her seat to challenger Garth Orwin Green.
Edwards was only ahead by 16 votes on election night.Edwards had 49.7% of the vote (2,614 votes) to Green’s 49.4% (2,598 votes).
The mayor’s race in the Utah County town of Eagle Mountain has fairly close margins
Early election night, Eagle Mountain Mayor Tom Westmoreland led his challenger, Melissa Clark, by only 113 votes. However, Westmoreland widened his lead after more results posted late Tuesday, giving him 53% of the vote (1,845 votes), ahead of Clark’s 46.5% (1,607 votes).
Correction: An earlier version included a now-deleted section that incorrectly stated Orem mayoral candidate Jim Evans is currently serving as Orem’s mayor. Evans was appointed as Orem’s interim mayor in 2011, but is not an incumbent this year. Orem’s current mayor is Richard Brunst.