Election Day 2022 yields some surprises and new facesDec 02, 2022 03:00PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]
Murray will have new faces representing it in state, county, and local offices, as voters chose to send some incumbents packing. The city will have a new state senator, county councilor and school board representative.
Data from the county clerk’s office shows that Murray does not necessarily vote straight party. The Salt Lake County Clerk’s maps show that when broken down by precincts, Murray overwhelmingly voted for independent candidate Evan McMullin over Republican Sen. Mike Lee for the Senate and Democratic candidate Darlene McDonald over Republican Rep. Burgess Owens. However, Republican Rep. John Curtis split precincts with Democrat Glenn Wright on the city’s east side. Overall, incumbents held on to their seats.
Analyzing the precinct maps, Murray’s individualistic spirit lived on, with precinct voters switching between Democrat and Republican candidates depending on the race. Generally, northern Murray, which has many apartment complexes, tends to vote for the Democrat candidate, while southern Murray, which has more single-family homes, votes for the Republican.
Western Murray will have a new senator. Nate Blouin, who lists his occupation as Renewable Energy Advocate, defeated long-term Sen. Gene Davis in the primary election and soundly defeated Republican challenger Roger Stout, claiming 69% of the vote.
Sen.-elect Blouin posted online, “I’m committed to working for a healthy environment, a more accountable government, and a future that works for every Utahn. This is a humbling moment that I do not take these results lightly.”
With recently redrawn boundaries, District 14, starting eastward at State Street, re-elected Democrat Sen. Stephanie Pitcher over Republican Dan Sorensen, 62% to 36%.
Pitcher, an attorney, posting after the election, said, “Thank you to so many of you for your support, political engagement, ideas, and most importantly, being part of the democratic process and voting. Thank you, also, to Dan Sorensen for running a friendly, positive race.”
Northeast Murray voters chose to send Democrat Carol Spackman Moss back for a 13th term in the Utah State House. She defeated Republican John McPhie soundly, 66% to 33%.
For the first time in recent memory, incumbent Democrat Mark Wheatley faced a formidable challenge from Belinda Johnson. At press time, the competitive race had Johnson at 46% to the 10-term Wheatley’s 54%. Wheatley, in the past, has had commanding wins, but with new district boundaries, his hold on voter interest has changed.
Southern Murray hosted another competitive race: incumbent Democrat Andrew Stoddard was re-elected over Thomas Young, 55% to 41%.
Rep. Stoddard posted online about the election, “This election really stressed me out because of the slate of really poor Republican candidates for county-wide races in SLCo (Salt Lake County). I am so happy with how things are looking.”
Southeast Murray voters decided to send incumbent Democrat Gay Lynn Bennion back to the State House, winning 63% to Republican Wayne Gary Sandberg’s 37%.
Bennion posted online, “Thank you for your votes and support. I am so excited and honored to represent HD41.”
State School Board District 5
Democrat Sarah Reale defeated Murrayite Republican Laurel Fetzer 59% to 36%. Unaffiliated candidate William Fisher garnered 4% of the vote. District 5 covers all of Murray except the southwest corner of the city.
“Our messages of supporting our educators, creating safe spaces for our students to learn, and taking the politics out of education, clearly resonated with voters,” Reale posted online.
County Council At-Large B
In one of the most surprising victories of Election Day, Democrat Suzanne Harrison defeated incumbent Republican County Councilmember and Murrayite Richard Snelgrove, 54% to 45%. Snelgrove was first elected in 2010, while Harrison has served in the legislature.
County Council District 3
Republican Aimee Winder Newton returns to the county council after defeating by 55% Democrat Ashley Liewer (40%) and Unified Utah Party member Kerry Soelberg (5%). Winder Newton captured west and south Murray precincts, while Liewer appealed to northern precincts.
“Ashley is a great person, and I respect her willingness to get in the race. It’s not easy to put yourself out there and run for office,” Winder Newton posted online.
In other county races, most Murray precincts backed returning Democrats County District Attorney Sim Gill, County Sheriff Rosie Rivera, and newcomer County Clerk-elect Lannie Chapman. However, many Murray precincts, along with a majority of Salt Lake County voters, supported Republican Chris Harding for County Auditor.
Murray School Board
Incumbent Kami Anderson defeated opponent Jessica Miller, 60% to 40%. This will be Anderson’s second term representing the southwest part of the school district.
Northwest Murray had a vacancy, with Belinda Johnson leaving to challenge Mark Wheatley for his State House seat. Educator Jill Weight defeated April Wilde Despain 60% to 40% in the board race.
“Over the past year, I’ve had an incredible adventure filled with making new friends, continuing old friendships, listening to others, sharing ideas, learning from the community, and to prepare to serve this great city of Murray with its’ parents, families, teachers, administrators and especially the kids in our amazing district,” Weight posted online.
Elizabeth Payne ran unopposed after Cheree Larson dropped out of the race.
Granite School District had no Murray school precincts in play this election cycle.
At press time, the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office was still finalizing results. Up-to-date information can be found at: slco.org/clerk/elections/.