Randall wins big, near-tie for second seat on council; Candidate reactions

ST. GEORGE – Michele Randall won a resounding victory in the race for two St. George city council seats last night; however, the election results revealed strong support for all four candidates, with less than 1.5-percent of the vote separating the second-place winner, Joe Bowcutt, from contenders Tara Dunn and Ed Baca.

Michele Randall

Randall won a firm victory, however. The preliminary results of the election indicate that Randall garnered 7624 votes – 31.8-percent of the total vote count – in the four-way race for city council.

Just after the preliminary results of the polling were released, Randall said that she was happy and humbled by the number of votes she received, and that she was glad that the campaign is over.

“I’m exhausted to be perfectly honest,” Randall said. “I’m ready to enjoy the holidays and family, and that’s my plan. I’m going to rejuvenate and then get to work starting in January.”

Randall said she was appreciative of all of the help from people who helped supported her campaign with emails, texts, and even their time and money. She also thanked Dunn and Baca for running for office.

“It is a lot of hard work, both physically and emotionally, running for office,” she said. “And my hat’s off to them for choosing to run.”

Joe Bowcutt

Bowcutt was getting ready to pin thank you notes on the yard-signs of his supporters when the results were announced, but first he wanted to be sure he actually won. With such a narrow margin between himself and Dunn, Bowcutt said that he didn’t want to celebrate too loudly until he was certain all the precincts had been counted.

“I’d like to thank all of the great people who made it out to vote for me,” Bowcutt said. “I’m ready to take the reins.”

Bowcutt then revealed something that he had tried hard to keep private during the campaign. “I broke my back, in September, putting up one of those 4-by-8 signs.” He didn’t say anything before, he said, because he didn’t want people voting for him out of sympathy.

In fact, Bowcutt said he was reluctant to bring it up even now, but he said that he wanted to be sure that the people who volunteered and helped in his campaign understood that he couldn’t have won without their help.

“I can’t thank them enough,” Bowcutt said. “There were things I just couldn’t do; not at all, if they hadn’t stepped forward.”

Tara Dunn

Candidate Tara Dunn said that, even though she didn’t quite make it, she knows that her campaign accomplished a lot.“I feel we had an impact on moving the bar for St. George,” she said.

“I think we are starting to see the community slowly begin to accept diversity. That someone from Ohio that is not LDS could have come this close to winning a seat here — I think it says a lot about how our community is changing.”

Although she didn’t win, the success of Dunn’s campaign surprised many people. Dunn, who is neither a Utah native, nor a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said some people claimed that she wasn’t “Dixie enough” to win an election in St. George. Dunn’s campaign embraced the fact that she was unlike most other municipal elected officials with her slogan, “Definitely NOT a Good Ol’ Boy.”

“Tara Dunn did remarkably well,” Bryan Hyde said. Hyde, the co-host of the local radio talk show Perspectives with Bryan and Kate, said that the fact that Dunn came within a hair’s breath of winning shows that the political landscape of Southern Utah is shifting beneath our feet.

“I think her showing this year is the strongest evidence yet that growth is causing tectonic shifts in the electorate,” Hyde said. “If she runs again, I bet she gets elected.”

Ed Baca

Ed Baca has been a fixture in local politics for the last 10 years. Baca regularly attends and participates in city council meetings, and has ran for several council seats in the past. In 2009, Baca nearly won the St. George mayoral election, winning 48-percent of the vote in a race against Mayor Dan McArthur.

Baca practically tied Dunn for third place trailing her by only eight votes, according the preliminary results.  Baca was not available for comment last night or this morning.

All of the candidates congratulated Councilman Jon Pike on his victory in the mayor’s race, and they all thanked out-going mayor McArthur.

“He has been a great leader and St. George’s greatest cheerleader,” Randall wrote in a statement. “He truly epitomizes the Dixie Spirit.”

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  • Outsider November 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Just glad the welder now without a title no longer has a title. Good riddance! maybe the animal shelter will hire him, or he can always volunteer his time there.

  • Maudie Fricker November 6, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    REALLY??? Did people actually say that Tara ‘Shunned’ was not DIXIE enough to win?? Good. LORD! JosephSmith forbid that an ‘outsider’ actually get a shot at winning a seat on the city council! Good luck next time, Tara. Email me if you want help on your next campaign!! I’m neither from here nor a member of ‘the church’, but I could outDixie any of these folks who think they’ve got Dixie blood…y’all…

    • Zeke November 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      To be quite honest, I’m surprised she got any votes at all with the “Not a good Ol’ boy” slogan. That was the most childish thing I’ve ever seen from a candidate that was running for an important position in a sizable community. Didn’t deserve to win flaunting those goofy signs all over the place. Can’t blame the citizens for that one.

    • Betty November 7, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Soooo glad Tara did not win. What she needs is a big wooden spoon to “stir” with. Electing her, I fear, would be such a waste of taxpayer money and time. If she refused her own husbands advice NOT to use that stupid slogan, what makes you think she’d ever listen to absolute strangers!

      • Nonbeliever November 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm

        It is pathetic that you think Tara Dunn was “stirring” anything.
        Obviously you didn’t read any of the facts. She was approached by advocates not the other way around. The advocates asked her AND the other candidates AT THE SAME TIME to review the shelter operations and conditions.
        She was one of the few to actually take on the request by the public. Something the city council and the poetry writing mayor was too busy to look into.
        She showed genuine concern over the shelter and the councils lack of oversight and understanding of the “Best Practices” and the current laws governing shelters. She was never disrespectful or inflammatory despite being railed against for discussing the shelter. Do you not want candidates to care or act on behalf of the citizens?

        Good ol’ Boy is not a slur. Tara Dunn is not so low or rude to ever use a slogan that would be considered so.
        Yes some people have chosen to interpret it differently, that’s their right.
        Everyone knows that certain people with specific pedigrees have long been in control of the city. These people are referred to as good ol’ boys. They are found in many small towns.
        She used the phrase to indicate she was new, fresh eyes and vision for the future of our town.

      • Jace November 9, 2013 at 9:21 am

        A loss to the City. Dunn actually had a platform where she wrote exact areas she would work on. Randall promised truth and transparency. What exactly does that mean? and that accomplishes what and in what areas? She wasn’t truthful or transparent with the voters on her own company. Bowcut couldn’t put a coherent sentence together at a debate. He said he’d lived here 40 years and hadn’t heard of these problems. Almquist under investigation should resign as he’s now useless. We need both Dunn and Baca on this council. put the 3rd and 4th place winner in to balance out the dead weight

  • Steven Stradley November 6, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I think we err as a people if we suggest that Tara Dunn’s near win implies a demographic change. This statement comes off sounding narrow-minded as it implies that only non-LDS people or “outsiders” would vote for her. I am both from Utah and an LDS individual who wants to see a greater diversity and acceptance of diversity in the area, hence a vote for Dunn.

  • Sweet Jude November 7, 2013 at 11:48 am

    Well – it depends what her good ol boy fashions are about and whether that involves moral values or not…no one knows what they are except Tara the lady herself.

    I think most people here have the descency to voice their familiarity with what’s right and what’s wrong (which is usually ingrained in our consciences); however, she may be advocating for a more hip atmosphere which the uptight, nitty gritty folks incessantly fight against. Unfortunately, many are LDS, although church leaders teach the exact opposite. We should be able to have a fun little town with some things to do!

  • Zeke November 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    One thing people need to think about is: Who is actually voting? Typically there are 15-20% of registered voters who take the time to go and vote. In order to win, the candidate needs just over half of those voters to vote for them. So if butt chewings and name calling is to be thrown out there, it’s only to the 8-10% of the folks who actually voted for the winner. And remember, its still ok for people to vote for whomever they choose to. (Isn’t it?) Of course the other 80% who are too lazy to vote need their own special public lashings too. Can’t be stereotyping the whole community if only 15-20% ever get off their duff and go vote.

  • Jace November 7, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    This election proved that you did not need a platform, or know that code enforcement isn’t run by the police department. you can have your lackeys run a smear campaign, turn it around as if your the victim and then win because your a member of the prominent religion. So the ballot could have read.- Mormon…Mormon…Dunn…Bacca… and the winners are..

    • Nonbeliever November 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      The council has a chance to show the residents that they recognize and respect the votes for Dunn. How? By appointing her the third seat on the council.
      If they ignore our votes and pick a candidate based on their religious affiliation or Utah “pedigree” it would be incredibly narrow minded and disappointing.
      The city council members should REPRESENT ALL OF THE RESIDENTS. Representation of all residents will create unity. Unity means a productive and healthy environment for everyone.
      Come on city council show us you are listening to the people!

      • John Russell November 8, 2013 at 7:41 pm

        The people do not want Tara Dunn on the council, otherwise she would have been voted in.

        • Jace November 9, 2013 at 9:24 am

          over 5000 voters want Tara Dunn on the council. That’s enough for her a 3rd seat on the council..

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