UPDATED: Election results for Summit County’s legislative races
Quinn narrowly re-elected
Republican incumbent Rep. Tim Quinn of Heber City appears set to win re-election by a thin margin against Democratic challenger Meaghan Miller in House District 54, according to updated preliminary results released Friday afternoon.
Quinn earned 51.1 percent of votes compared to Miller’s 48.9 percent.
Quinn, a staunch conservative, relied on support from his base in Wasatch County to pull ahead, while Miller, a Parkite, had a strong showing in Summit County, where she won 4,905 votes to Quinn’s 2,002.
Quinn said in an interview Wednesday that he had expected a tight victory. Quinn said his goals for the 2019 session are to continue advocating for fiscally conservative tax policies and working to stabilize the state’s revenue.
Quinn campaigned on his experience in business and with tax policy, and touted the strength of Utah’s economy, which he said is buoyed by conservative philosophies. Miller is the development coordinator at the People’s Health Clinic and focused part of her platform on what she sees as the need for expanded health care.
With a margin of victory of 392 votes, according to Friday’s numbers, Quinn’s bid for a second term was even closer than when he defeated Wasatch County Democrat Rudi Kohler by fewer than 900 votes in 2016.
Quinn said he didn’t have much interaction with his opponent throughout the campaign.
“I’m shocked no one wanted to set up a debate this year,” he said.
Miller agreed, saying she would have “loved” the chance for the two to meet on the public stage and that she respected the Republican’s “above board” campaign.
Miller, who is 33 and has a background in health policy, is nowhere near done with politics. She said after Tuesday that she is “definitely” going to run for public office again, likely returning to Park City’s legislative district.
“I’m not ruling out 2020,” she said. “Tim’s not done with me yet.”
“We ran a great race and I was super excited to see such high voter turnout in a midterm year,” she added.
Quinn could be getting back to business sooner, rather than later. Gov. Gary Herbert has said he will call a special legislative session with medical marijuana policy as a focus, and Quinn said he believes the compromise agreed upon by advocates and opponents in the state is a more sound piece of legislation than the language of Proposition 2.
— By James Hoyt
Wilde retains District 53 seat
State House District 53 incumbent Republican Logan Wilde, R-Croydon has retained his seat over Democratic challenger Chris Neville.
Wilde, who was re-elected to serve a two-year term, defeated Neville after winning 65.5 percent of the votes in the district, according to preliminary results. He topped Neville with nearly 11,404 of the votes to Neville’s 5,997. Neville earned strong support in Summit County, however, taking 50.9 percent of the votes compared to Wilde’s 49.1 percent.
“I think a lot of people really like local control and want to see their legislators stand up for their cities and counties,” Wilde said.
Wilde was first elected to serve the Republican-leaning district in 2016. The bulk of voters in the counties that make up District 53, which includes large swaths of Daggett, Rich, Morgan, Duchesne and Summit counties, identify as Republican.
Wilde is a rancher with a sheep and cattle operation in Croydon and a former chair of the Morgan County Council. He advocated for various agricultural programs during his first term and throughout his campaign. He has said he favors local governmental control and has vowed to reduce the state’s influence over local politics.
“What I have to do now is try and engage the people who are moderates and Democrats to try and see what their positions are and what I can do to help them,” he said.
Neville, who lives in Hidden Cove and owns a software company, faced an uphill battle in the district. He mounted a campaign aimed at appealing to voters who felt underrepresented, running on a platform focused on fair representation, compassionate government and environmental stewardship.
Neville said he plans to stay involved with state politics, building off of the relationships he established while campaigning.
“I’m really glad I won Summit County,” he said. “I think that was important. I mean I’ve said it the whole time. I respect Logan and I think he really does have our best interest at heart. I’ll certainly be paying a lot of attention to things, specifically with how we deal with taxes. But, it’s been fun to run and I want to keep people actively engaged in what their Legislature is doing.”
— By Angelique McNaughton
Republican Winterton stakes claim to Senate District 26
Republican Ronald Winterton defeated Democrat Eileen Gallagher in the race for Utah Senate District 26.
According to preliminary results, Winterton, a Duchesne County Commissioner, is slated to become the next Uintah Basin Republican to represent Summit County in the Senate, earning 63.4 percent of the vote, while Gallagher, a Parkite, garnered 34.3 percent. Cathy Callow-Heusser, a United Utah Party candidate also from Park City, came away with 2.4 percent of the vote.
Gallagher performed well in Summit County, garnering 63.5 percent of votes to Winterton’s 34.4 percent.
Winterton will succeed Vernal Republican Kevin Van Tassell, who is retiring after three terms on Capitol Hill.
“I’m happy, relieved and very honored that there is overwhelming support for me,” Winterton said. “I look forward to serving in that capacity to serving District 26.”
Winterton, a former trucking business owner, said serving on the Senate Transportation Committee would be a natural fit, but as a freshman senator, he is open to whichever committee leadership assigns him to.
“I’m going to work hard all I can to learn,” he said.
Gallagher, a physician, said she was “disappointed” in the result but didn’t rule out running for public office again later on. She questioned whether the boundaries of the district, which leans heavily Republican and includes both the Wasatch Back and Uintah Basin in a huge swath of land, affected the outcome of the race. The district could be among those altered in the next round of redistricting after the 2020 census
“Talk to me after there’s redistricting,” she said when asked if she would consider another run at representing the district in the Senate. “It’d be hard to be motivated to run in 26 if there isn’t redistricting.”
Still, the Parkite said that her first experience as a candidate was a good one.
“I’m proud of the campaign we ran,” she said. “I’m proud of the fact that we had a pretty amazing amount of teenagers, people in their 20s and people that we knew who joined us.”
Winterton said he would do his best to represent the whole district, composed of constituents in Summit, Wasatch, Duchesne, Daggett and Uintah counties, as an “advocate for the counties and cities,” as well as communicating with local elected officials on their priorities.
“I don’t have an agenda,” he said. “I just want to serve.”
— By James Hoyt
Summit County backs Wilson, Castillo
In the federal campaigns, Summit County sided with Democrats who lost in the overall voting on Tuesday. Summit County has long been an outlier in federal campaigns, typically backing Democrats in a heavily Republican congressional district and state.
Republican Mitt Romney captured the Senate seat now held by the retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, the Republican White House nominee in 2012 and the figure who led the 2002 Winter Olympic organizing committee, easily defeated Salt Lake County Councilor Jenny Wilson, who was the Democratic nominee.
Romney won 62.6 percent of the statewide vote while Wilson captured 31.3 percent, according to the preliminary totals. In Summit County, though, Wilson topped Romney with 50.6 percent of the vote to the Republican’s 45.4 percent.
Incumbent Republican Congressman Rob Bishop routed his opponents in the 1st Congressional District, winning re-election with 62.7 percent of the votes in what became a three-person contest with a third-party candidate on the ballot. Lee Castillo, the Democrat, finished second with 24.1 percent while Eric Eliason, who was the United Utah Party’s candidate, was the third-place finisher with 11.5 percent, according to the preliminary numbers.
Castillo won Summit County, though, with 52.4 percent, with Bishop in second place with 37.4 percent. Eliason won 8.6 percent of the votes in Summit County.
— By Jay Hamburger
The official canvass of election results is scheduled for Nov. 20.
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