Though Cox maintains lead, commission race remains close

L-R: Washington County Commission candidates Gil Almquist and Dean Cox at a debate hosted by the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce, St. George, Utah, June 15, 2016 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Though each race in Tuesday’s primary election received additional votes as interim results were published Friday, the outcome remains unchanged. This includes the Republican nomination for the Washington County Commission where an upset may still occur.

Washington County Administrator Dean Cox, St. George, Utah, Sept. 30, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
This 2015 file photo shows Washington County Administrator Dean Cox, St. George, Utah, Sept. 30, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

According to Friday’s interim results Dean Cox leads fellow Republican Gil Almquist at 7,121 votes to 6,985. The lead may grow or shrink by the next update set for Tuesday based on how many mail-in ballots the Washington County Clerk’s office has yet to count and record.

Under a new law passed by the Legislature this year, county clerk offices are able to post intermittent results based on mail-in ballot returns on Tuesdays and Fridays between the primary election and the official canvasing date. Official canvassing is set for July 12.

“This provision of the law allows time to complete the ballot count and conduct a thorough audit of the election results to ensure accuracy,” the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office said in a general statement released to multiple media agencies regarding the new process.

Though he has a 136-vote lead for now, nearly double that of Tuesday’s initial results, Cox is not declaring victory and said he prefers to wait for the final results.

“I want to be respectful of the clerk-auditor and those people who are working so hard to get an accurate count,” Cox said, adding he is nonetheless pleased with the results thus far.

Almquist, who couldn’t be reached for comment Friday, has not conceded the race and has previously indicated that he will take a “wait and see” approach as the interim ballots results come in.

Both candidates have thanked those who have supported them during their campaigns as well as crediting each other with running clean and professional campaigns free of negativity.

JIll and Gil Almquist with St. George Mayor Jon Pike at the the last St. George City Council meeting of 2015. Prior to the meeting, City Council members and city staff had a going away party for the outgoing Councilman Almquist, St. George, Utah, Dec. 17, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler
This 2015 file photo shows, from left to right, Jill and Gil Almquist with St. George Mayor Jon Pike at the last St. George City Council meeting of 2015. Prior to the meeting, City Council members and city staff had a going away party for the outgoing Councilman Almquist. St. George, Utah, Dec. 17, 2015 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Currently servicing as the Washington County Administrator, Cox announced he would retire from that position Aug. 15 whatever the final outcome of the election is.

“If I lose the election and retire I can focus on being the world’s best grandpa,” Cox said with a laugh.

While he has been involved in the Republican Party, the County Commission race is the first public office Cox has run for. He has also been heavily involved in facets of the county’s emergency services in the past.

Almquist served on the St. George City Council for eight years and also served on the city’s Planning Commission before that. He currently serves as the president of the Bloomington Hills Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Whoever wins the Republican nomination for the commission seat will face independent candidates Josh Warburton and Greg Aldred in the general election.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!

Posted in General Election 2016, Local, News, PoliticsTagged , , , ,

1 Comment

  • dhamilton2002 July 3, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Good Morning Mori,

    I would like to know why you thought it appropriate to mention that Mr. Almquist is a stake president in an article that is strictly about an election. It seems very wrong to me that you bring his religion into your piece as what appears to be a subtle way to endorse his candidacy. As a member of the press you should adhere strictly to the concept of church-state separation. Other than that it’s a good article.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.