Park City Democrat crushed in congressional contest |

Park City Democrat crushed in congressional contest

Incumbent Republican Congressman John Curtis, left, routed Democrat Glenn Wright, a retiring member of the Summit County Council, in the 3rd Congressional District contest. Wright won Summit County, but the local margin was close. | Jeffrey Allred/Deseret News

Glenn Wright, a Park City-area Democratic stalwart, suffered a landslide defeat in what from the start had been a long shot bid to win a seat in Congress.

Wright, a retiring member of the Summit County Council, was the Democratic nominee in the 3rdCongressional District and was attempting to unseat a Republican incumbent.

Congressman John Curtis was reelected with a little more than 66.2% of the vote, according to preliminary results released by state elections officials. Wright received a little more than 27.9%.

The Democratic loss in the 3rd Congressional District was expected. The district is heavily Republican and runs from the Wasatch Front to the borders with Wyoming and Colorado, as well as the Four Corners. Conservative stronghold Utah County by a wide margin accounted for the largest bloc of votes on Tuesday.

However, in one of the surprises of Election Day, Wright carried Summit County, but the margin was closer than anticipated. Wright garnered 3,426 votes while Curtis was selected on 3,138 ballots. Wright led Curtis in Summit County by fewer than 300 votes. Wright’s total was 50.27% while Curtis took 46.05%.

Wright’s long history in Summit County as an elected official, a member of local Democratic leadership and an activist had been expected to bolster the campaign in Summit County more than it actually did.

Wright was pummeled in places like Utah County, Duchesne County, Emery County and Uintah County.

Wright, at the outset of the campaign, in March, conceded he did not “have any high hope I will actually be a congressman.”

The election was the first held since the congressional districts were redrawn after the 2020 census. Summit County had been contained within the 1st Congressional District but was split between that district and the 3rd Congressional District when the new map was crafted. The redrawn map generally put Park City and South Summit in the 3rd Congressional District while the Snyderville Basin and North Summit were generally kept in the 1st Congressional District.

In the 1st Congressional District, centered in northern Utah, the Republican incumbent congressman, Blake Moore, routed Democrat Rick Jones with 68.6% of the vote. Jones, though, won in Summit County. Jones received 6,404 votes in the county while Moore tallied 5,139.

The tense contest for a U.S. Senate seat between Republican Sen. Mike Lee and unaffiliated candidate Evan McMullin went to the incumbent. Lee won another term with 54.87% of the vote. McMullin received 41.43%. Summit County voters, though, went for McMullin. He received 11,509 votes, beating Lee’s 6,565.

Summit County often is a political outlier in congressional campaigns. The Park City area is one of the state’s most reliable Democratic strongholds. The political makeup is influenced by the large numbers of people who have moved to the Park City area from Democratic states like California and New York in recent decades.

The results on Tuesday resembled others in recent decades as Summit County’s votes for Democratic candidates in congressional campaigns were overwhelmed by conservative parts of the district or, in the case of the Senate contest, Republican-leaning parts of the state.

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