On June 23, the Republican primary election hit Utah in a largely unnoticed flurry of conservative rhetoric. Despite atypically aggressive campaigning by many candidates, voting turnout was typically low. Here are the people you forgot to vote for:
The winner: Mike Lee, a Republican marked by his extreme devotion to the Constitution, was the more right-leaning of the two candidates that made it past the convention. He takes a strong stance on traditional Republican issues and was the favorite of many Tea-Party-enthusiasts. Lee won with 51% of the vote.
The loser: Tim Bridgewater, like most Republicans during a Democratic presidency, based his campaign on the “insanities” of current policy. He listed his complaints on his website, including “Obamacare,” luxurious Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers and basically any increase in taxes or government programs in competition with the private market.
The ousted incumbent: In his three terms in the Senate, Bob Bennett became counsel to the minority leader, was chairman of six committees and a member of dozens of other committees, task forces and caucuses. His father, Wallace F. Bennett, was a Senator from 1951 to 1974.
The Democratic candidate: Lee will face Sam Granato this November. Granato has been endorsed by Congressman Jim Matheson, Salt Lake City Mayor Peter Corroon, eight state senators and twelve state representatives. He owns several restaurants in Salt Lake City. Granato wants to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to control costs, pass the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act to create new jobs, and continue Wall Street reform.
Utah County commissioner seat A
The winner: Reigning commissioner Gary Anderson was the only candidate to beat this year’s anti-incumbent trend. Anderson served two terms in the ’80s before taking a break to practice law. He returned to office in 2007 and since then has been instrumental in the current rebuilding of I-15, the most expensive road construction project in Utah’s history. He has also helped pave the way to bring a commuter rail to Utah County and expanded the Sheriff’s office to include Canyon teams. Since 2007, however, Anderson and the two other commissioners voted to raise their salaries from $94,000 to $104,000 each per year.
The loser: Joel Wright has been involved in Utah politics since 2004. His campaign promises included stepping down after two terms, decreasing unnecessary government spending by leasing services like the new Utah County Convention Center to the private sector, and making the usually quiet business of the commissioners easy for the public to access.
The Democratic candidate: Anderson has no Democratic competitor to face in the November election.
Utah County commissioner seat C
The winner: Douglas Whitney won the seat in the Republican Convention by 65% and therefore was not a candidate in the primaries. Whitney promises to propose a one- to two-term limit for all Utah County elected positions, to refuse any salary increases during his term and empower government employees among other things.
The loser: Incumbent Steve White was elected to the Commission in 2002. He served as Commission Chair for 2004 and Vice-Chair in 2003 and 2006. White’s website boasts that during his reign, he has increased funding for Utah County Law Enforcement by 85% without increasing taxes, cut costs for the Wellness Recovery Clinic by 38% while improving patient services, and provided the County Attorney’s office with funding for seven new prosecutors in the last six years.
The Democratic candidate: There is no declared Democratic challenger for Seat C.
Utah County recorder
The winner: Jeffery Smith won by 61%. Smith worked under previous Recorder Randy Covington. Covington is a UVU graduate, with an associate’s fegree in Drafting and Design with an emphasis in Land Surveying.
The loser: Rodney Campbell was in the County Recorder’s office for 35 years and served as Utah County Recorder since mid-2009.
The Democratic candidate: Once again, there is none.