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Murray Journal

Murray’s senate and house seats solidly Democrat as voters turn out in droves

Nov 19, 2018 03:55PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Left to right, Kathleen Riebe, Andrew Stoddard, and Elizabeth Payne all defeated incumbent officeholders.

By Shaun Delliskave | s.delliskave@mycityjournals.com

In what was likely the largest voter turnout in Murray’s mid-term history, Murray residents chose new faces to represent them at the State Capitol. 

Murray City Hall was packed on Election Day, as voters waited up to 30 minutes to cast their ballots. Much of the interest in this election was generated by national political waves spawned from polarizing opinions of President Donald Trump, the #MeToo Movement, and issues like healthcare, immigration, and the economy. The large turnout may explain why Murray sent several of its incumbent state senators and representatives packing. (Note: at press time, the election results had not been officially certified.)

State Senate

Senate District 8

Democrat Kathleen Riebe could be called “The Little Engine That Could”, as she successfully defeated, in both the primary and general election, candidates who were more well-funded and more well-known. Riebe, an educational technology specialist for Granite School District, shocked many when she won the nomination over Kathie Allen (a past candidate for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District) at the State Democratic Convention. 

Her general election opponent was Brian Zehnder, who was appointed by Governor Gary Herbert to fill the vacancy created by Brian Shiozawa’s resignation. Riebe defeated the Republican incumbent with 56 percent of the vote.  

Before Election Day, Riebe posted, “Regardless of the outcome, I am taking surfing lessons Nov. 9 with my kids.”

Senate District 3

Democratic incumbent Gene Davis had no problem in dispensing with Republican challenger Jeremy Egan. Davis, who was first elected in 1999, defeated Egan by 70 percent. Egan noted in his campaign that his voter base was in the millennial age group; however, national statistics show that the majority of millennials identify with Democrats.

Senate District 4

The northeast notch of Murray saw incumbent Democrat Jani Iwamoto solidly win against Republican Alan Monsen, taking 68 percent of the vote. Monsen posted online after the Election Day, “It’s a tough day to be a Republican in Salt Lake County. What a great journey. I’ve learned so much along the way. I enjoyed meeting so many of my neighbors in Senate District 4.”

State House of Representatives

House District 37

Murray’s largest House District, encompassing the east-central part of the city, will return Democratic incumbent Carol Spackman Moss to the State House. Moss ran against Republican and former Executive Director of the Utah Department of Health David Sundwall, winning with 63 percent of the vote.

Sundwall conceded online by saying, “I had fun campaigning, met a lot of nice folks, and have a deeper appreciation of our democratic process. Now, back to part-time clinical care of patients, participation on a number of boards and advisory committees, and more time with grandkids.”

District 35

Democratic incumbent Mark Wheatley, in Murray’s northern district, soundly retained his seat with 64 percent of the vote against Republican Robert Edgel and Libertarian Chelsea Travis. Edgel had tried to urge Libertarians to vote for him by saying a vote for Travis was a wasted vote, but in the end Edgel and Travis’s votes together only totaled 36 percent of the vote.

District 44

In southwest Murray, in what was perhaps Murray’s closest Utah State House race, Democrat Andrew Stoddard defeated Republican incumbent Bruce Cutler. Murray City Prosecutor Stoddard won with 55 percent of the vote. 

Cutler posted online, “It’s been a rewarding opportunity to serve in the Utah State Legislature. Now on to more relaxing activities.”

District 46

Democratic incumbent Marie Poulsen will once again represent the southeast quadrant of the city, having defeated Republican Greg Johnson by 62 percent.

District 34

The far west sliver of Murray will again have Democratic incumbent Karen Kwan. She defeated Republican David Young by 60 percent.

Local School Board Races

In Murray School District 2, which covers the southwest area of Murray, incumbent Kami Anderson will see another term, after defeating challenger Daniel Martinez by 77 percent. In central Murray, the incumbent, Cristin Longhurst, lost to challenger Elizabeth Payne, who received 57 percent of the vote. Belinda Johnson, board member from northeast Murray District 3, ran unopposed.

County Council

Murray will see no new faces on the Salt Lake County Council, since Democratic incumbent Jim Bradley and Republican incumbent Aimee Winder Newton each retained their seats.

Final vote tallies can be seen online at vote.utah.gov.