Bleak, Cozzens, Carpenter and Dotson emerge winners in Iron County GOP primary

Paul Cozzens, shown in this file photo speaking during the Iron County GOP Convention, defeated three other candidates Tuesday in the primary election for County Commission Seat B, Cedar City, Utah, April 14, 2018 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Almost 60 percent of eligible voters in Iron County had their ballots counted Tuesday, as registered Republicans decided the winners of four key county races.

Update June 28, 9 p.m. Article updated to include details of the latest vote count released by the Iron County Clerk’s office late Thursday.

Each of the county-level winners is essentially guaranteed victory in November, as they will all be unopposed in the general election.

Iron County Commission Seat A challenger Fred Rowley (left) and incumbent Michael Bleak take part in a debate forum at Cedar North Elementary, Cedar City, Utah, May 31, 2018. Bleak won reelection in Tuesday’s primary election. | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Keeping his seat on the Iron County Commission is Mike Bleak, who held off challenger Fred Rowley in a two-candidate race for Seat A. According to unofficial results posted by the Iron County Clerk’s Office at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Bleak garnered 53.5 percent of the votes cast, while Rowley had 46.5 percent.

The race for County Commission Seat B featured four candidates. Paul Cozzens was the top vote-getter with 37.8 percent of 7,318 votes cast, Jennie Hendricks came in second with 32.1 percent, Michelle Jorgenson was third with 15.9 percent and Sam Brower was fourth with 14.2 percent.

The race for Iron County Sheriff also had four candidates. Ken Carpenter won that race with 42.9 percent of the vote, Del Schlosser was second with 28.4 percent, David Evans was third with 19.6 percent and Caleb Anderson was fourth with 9.1 percent.

Former Iron County Attorney Scott Burns’ bid to return to his former elected position was foiled by political newcomer and current deputy county attorney Chad Dotson. Dotson earned 55 percent of the vote to Burns’ 45 percent.

“I am humbled and grateful for the trust and confidence that has been placed in me,” Dotson told Cedar City News Tuesday night. “I am excited to serve our county and bring a fresh perspective and energy to the office. I plan to work tirelessly for the people of Iron County and look forward to getting to work.”

Iron County Attorney candidates Scott Burns (left) and Chad Dotson participate in a candidate forum at Cedar North Elementary, Cedar City, Utah, May 31, 2018. Dotson defeated Burns in Tuesday’s primary election. | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Cozzens, a current member of the Cedar City Council, shared similar sentiments regarding his election as Iron County Commissioner.

“This election has been interesting, challenging and rewarding,” he said. “The best part has been the interaction with the great citizens of this county. I knocked on over 2,400 doors and enjoyed every minute of it.”

Thanking his wife, family, donors and voters for their support, Cozzens added, “I look forward to working with the others that have been elected. Come January, it is time to go to work for the benefit of Iron County.”

There were a couple other races on Iron County’s GOP primary ballot. For the U.S. Senate seat, Mitt Romney defeated Mike Kennedy 59.7 percent to 40.3 percent in Iron County. Statewide, Romney outpolled Kennedy 72 percent to 28 percent to advance to the November general election.

And in Utah House District 71, which includes the eastern portions of Iron and Washington counties, incumbent Rep. Brad Last held off a challenge from newcomer Mark Borowiak.

Last captured 79.7 percent of Iron County votes to Borowiak’s 20.3 percent, and won by a lesser margin in Washington County. The overall breakdown was 73.2 percent to 26.8 percent in favor of Last, who now advances to the November general election.

Iron County Republican Party Chairman Andrew Young said voter response was about twice as high as it was the last midterm election.

Ken Carpenter, candidate for Iron County Sheriff, speaks during debate at Cedar North Elementary School, Cedar City Utah, May 31, 2018. Carpenter was the top vote-getter among four candidates for the office in the primary election Tuesday. | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“We had some key seats come open,” he said. “People are getting more involved. It’s encouraging.”

Young thanked all the GOP voters who cast their ballots in the primary election.

“Where the rubber hits the road is when you mail in that ballot,” he said. “Part of respecting the political process is participating in it.”

Initial vote counts, with nearly 50 percent of the total ballots sent out, were posted shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday. Then, at 9:30 p.m., the Iron County Clerk’s office issued updated results with more than 1,000 additional ballots added to the earlier totals. Those included ballots from people who’d voted in person at the polls Tuesday or dropped off their mail-in ballots in person.

An indeterminate number of provisional and absentee ballots still remain to be counted, along with any that were postmarked or or before Monday’s deadline but had not yet arrived in the mail as of Tuesday. Those ballots will be added to the totals when another count conducted Friday, with the updated totals to be posted and sent out that day, Iron County Clerk Jon Whittaker said.

According to Tuesday’s 9:30 p.m. totals, 7,478 ballots were tallied out of 13,005 registered GOP voters in the county, a 57.5 percent turnout.

Late Thursday, Whittaker released updated figures from the latest vote count, which he said includes almost every ballot cast. The updated information indicates that 8,299 ballots were cast out of 13,005 registered GOP voters, or a 63.8 percent turnout. The 821 additional ballots added to the count between Tuesday and Thursday changed the various candidates’ percentages slightly, but did not affect the outcomes of any of the races.

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1 Comment

  • HerePliggyWiggy June 28, 2018 at 8:12 am

    Romney? You people are fools.

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