Sanpete sticks to its Republican stripes
By Suzanne Dean
MANTI—Sanpete County held true to its Republican stripes Tuesday by overwhelmingly supporting GOP contenders for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress and Utah Legislature.
But in the state as a whole, and even in races where Democrats lost, the national shift toward Democrats was manifest.
All along, Republican Mitt Romney was a shoe-in for U.S. Senate. Based on unofficial returns, he received 80 percent of Sanpete County votes, while Democrat Jenny Wilson got 12 percent (see chart).
But in the state as a whole, Romney captured 62 percent to 31 percent for Wilson. In Republican red Utah, anything above 30 percent is considered respectable for a Democrat.
Of course, the cliff hanger throughout election night was the Congressional District 4 race between Republican Mia Love, the two-term incumbent, and Democrat Ben McAdams. The district includes Sanpete County north of Pigeon Hollow Junction.
In Sanpete County, and again based on unofficial results, Love got 77 percent of the vote, while McAdams captured 22 percent, a very respectable total for a Democrat running in the county.
In the district as a whole, McAdams was leading 51 to 49 percent at the end of election night. The unofficial returns gave him a 5,000 vote lead. But with thousands of absentee and provisional votes outstanding, most news media were rating the race as too close to call.
In Congressional District 2, which includes Sanpete County south of Pigeon Hollow Junction, including Ephraim, Manti and Gunnison, Republican incumbent Chris Stewart received 85 percent of the county’s votes while Democrat Shireen Ghorbani captured 12 percent.
But the district as a whole, which includes much of rural southern Utah, a staunchly Republican area, along with Cedar City and St. George, Stewart came out with 58 percent while Ghorbani, a newcomer and part of the national trend toward women running for Congress, got a very respectable 38 percent.
In the contest for Utah Legislature in District 58, which takes in Sanpete and Juab counties, incumbent Derrin Owens, a Republican, acquired 78 percent of the vote in Sanpete County vote and 79 percent in the two counties combined.
Democrat Lynn Zaritsky, who stepped up to challenge Owens because she said she was tired of seeing Republicans always running unopposed, got 13 percent in Sanpete County as well as in Sanpete and Juab combined.
In District 70, which dips across the Sanpete-Sevier county line to take in Axtell, Republican Carl Albrecht of Richfield got 83 percent of Sanpete County votes while Democrat Robert Greenberg of Moab got 17.
In the multi-county rural district as a whole, Albrecht got 20 percent and Greenberg 20 percent.
Consistent with a national trend, voter turnout in Sanpete County was 72 percent, 30 percent higher than in the 2014 midterm election. However, it was below the 81 percent turnout the county posted in the 2016 general election.