SOUTHERN UTAH – From the county to the federal-level, there are candidates aplenty in the 2016 election cycle in Southern Utah. With the close of the candidate filing period Thursday some races are currently overflowing with candidates, while others have incumbents running unopposed.
Over 300 candidates filed in the state-level races, including 10 for governor.
Across the state, 90 Democratic candidates filed. Party officials said in a statement Thursday that the candidates are diverse, as over half of the candidates are women and also include Young Democrats, minorities and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“We are proud to have a slate of candidates who look like the people of Utah,” Utah Democratic Chair Peter Corroon said, adding they represent the growing diversity of the state. “… They come from all parts of the state and are ready and committed to represent the best interests of the people of Utah.”
Over 150 Republicans have filed to run across the state for various contested races. With this year involving a presidential election and a wide bevy of candidates offered across the board, officials in both major parties are anticipating a larger turnout to next week’s precinct caucus meetings.
Attendees will also be able to vote their preference for president, which will help determine which presidential candidate Utah delegates will support at the national conventions.
House District 71 and Senate District 29.
The races for House District 71, currently held by Republican Rep. Brad Last, and Senate District 29, which is being vacated by Republican Sen. Steve Urquhart at the end of the year, are the two races the Washington County Democratic Party is focusing on, its chair Zach Almaguer said.
Running for those positions on the Democratic ticket are retired NASA engineer Chuck Goode for House District 71 and former Washington County Democratic chair Dorothy Engelman for Senate District 29.
“There’s where we’ll be focusing our efforts this year and we’re hoping they’ll be a bigger voter turnout with it being a presidential election year,” Almaguer said.
While incumbent Rep. Brad Last will not face any other Republican challengers, the departure of Urquhart from the Senate leaves the seat wide open for either Republican Rep. Don Ipson, who currently represents House District 75, or newcomer Richard Jenkins, in the race against Engelman.
House District 75
“It’s always exciting because we’ve got some really quality people who want to be involved and serve and are putting themselves out there,” Washington County Republican Party Vice Chair Mary Burkett said of the county’s Republican candidates this year.
An interesting race to watch will be the race for House District 75, which is being vacated by Ipson, Burkett said. Three Republicans have filed for the House seat yet face no Democratic or third party challengers.
Candidates running for House District 75 include realtor Steve Kemp, software company president Walt Brooks and rancher and businessman Slade Hughes.
Additional legislative races in Southern Utah
Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, faces Democratic challenger Ty Markham of Torrey, for House District 73. Incumber Sen. David Hinkins, R-Orangeville, has filed for re-election and will face Democrat Heidi Redd of Monticello.
Unopposed races include House Districts 63 and 74, held by Republican Reps. Jon Stanard and V. Lowry Snow, respectively; House District 72, held by Rep. John Westwood; and Senate District 24, held by Sen. Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe.
Governor: Gov. Gary Herbert faces nine challengers that include Republicans Nate Jensen, Jonathan Johnson and Claros Tavares; Democrats Vaughn Cook and Mike Weinholtz; Libertarians Brian Kamerath and Ken Larsen, Independent American Superdell Schanze; and unaffiliated candidate L.S. Brown.
Attorney General: Incumbent Republican Sean Reyes will be running against Democrat Jon Harper, Libertarian W. Andrew McCullough and Independent American Michael Isbell.
State Auditor: Republican John Dougall is running to retain his position against Democrat Jared Green.
State Treasurer: Incumbent Republican David Damschen is facing fellow Republican Merrill Cook as well as Democrat Neil Hansen and Constitution Party candidate Richard Proctor
State Board of Education: Running for District 15, which covers Washington and Iron counties, are St. George residents Scott Smith and Michelle Boulter, Pine Valley resident Ralph Morris Brooks, Hurricane resident Wesley Christiansen and Santa Clara resident R. Neil Walter.
U.S. House and Senate
Incumbent Republican Chris Stewart, who represents Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, has filed for re-election. Democrat Charlene Albarran, fellow Republican Jeremy Smith, and Constitution Party candidate Paul McCollaum Jr. have also filed to run for the Congressional seat.
For U.S. Senate, sitting Republican Sen. Mike Lee is being challenged by Democrats Misty Snow, Jonathan Swinton, Craig Oliver and Jade Tuan Quoc Vo, along with Republican William Gaskell, Independent American Stoney Fonua and unaffiliated candidate Bill Barron.
Washington County Commission
Running for Washington County Commission Seat C as Republicans are banker and pastor Jimi Kestin, former St. George City Councilman Gil Almquist and Washington County Administrator Dean Cox. Running as independents are businessman Greg Aldred and Josh Warburton, publisher of The Independent.
Washington County School Board
Running for School Board District 1 are: Aaron Prisbrey, Richelle Nelson, Brian Lee Beckstrom, Becky Dunn, William Johnson, LeMar Winward and Kyle Wilson.
Incumbent Craig Seegmiller will be running against challenger Rick Neslon for District 2.
In District 3, incumbent Debbie Zockoll has filed to run, along with Terry Hutchison, Richard Briggs and Susi Lafaele.
Iron County Commission
Republican incumbent Alma Adams will face fellow Republicans Jody Edwards and Sam Brower, as well as Constitution Party candidate Ken Bauer and Libertarian Wayne Hall.
“It’s good to see the interest in the position and the variety of candidates that have filed,” Iron County Clerk Jon Whitaker said.
St. George News reporter Tracie Sullivan contributed to this article.
- All St. George News stories on 2016 General Election
- Candidate and voter information can be found on the Washington County Clerk’s portion of the county website
- Lt. Governor’s Office: List of state and federal-level candidates who have filed for run for office thus far
- Interactive map detailing Utah’s Congressional, state House and Senate and Board of Education districts
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