In primary election, 4 Republicans win seats on Utah school board because no Democrats ran

After the primary races last week for Utah’s state school board, four Republicans have already secured their seats — facing no contests in the general election this fall.

It’s a surprising result that comes after the board switched to allow candidates to run under a political party this year and few Democrats ended up filing.

Members of the GOP accounted for 21 of the 27 people on the ballots. And all four primary races — for districts 4, 10, 13 and 15 — had no general-election opposition from Democrats or others.

The Utah Board of Education, which oversees K-12 schools in the state, has 15 members total, each serving for four years with elections staggered. This year, there were nine open spots.

The remaining five not decided by the primary will move on to the November ballot.

Up until this election, the races were nonpartisan. But late last year, after a lengthy legal challenge, the Utah Supreme Court ruled that candidates could run with a party banner for the first time. It’s caused concern for some, especially after the strong Republican showing.

Here are the candidates who won their primaries:

District 4

This area covers North Salt Lake and part of Weber County.

• Brent J. Strate, who’s currently a teacher at Bonneville High School, got 57% of the vote.

District 10

This area includes the south end of Salt Lake County, mostly capturing the city of Sandy.

• Molly L. Hart, who’s the principal at Albion Middle School, got 67% of the vote.

District 13

This area covers part of Utah County, mainly Provo.

• Randy Boothe, who’s a faculty member at Brigham Young University, got 52% of the vote.

District 15

The area captures southwest Utah with both St. George and Cedar City.

• Kristan Norton, who’s a fifth grade teacher in Washington County School District, got 61% of the vote.