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J. Dell Holbrook, the last Democrat elected in Davis County, dies at 84

(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) J. Dell Holbrook near the Antelope Island causeway in 2008. Davis County's last elected Democrat died Sept. 18, 2021 at age 84.

J. Dell Holbrook, the last Democrat elected to office in Davis County, died last week from injuries sustained in a car crash. He was 84.

Holbrook won election to the Davis County Commission for one term in 1990. He lost his reelection bid in 1994 to Republican Dan McConkie. It was the first win by a Democrat in the county in nearly three decades.

During his time in office, Holbrook headed up the effort to rebuild the Antelope Island Causeway, which was wiped out in a flood in 1983. The causeway reopened in 1992

Holbrook unsuccessfully tried to regain the seat in 1998.

Holbrook attempted a political comeback in 2008 running again for county commission, but he was defeated that year by Republican John Petroff.

No Democrat has won an election to a partisan office in Davis County since Holbrook accomplished the feat more than 30 years ago.

“He was the most positive, across the aisle, collaborative person that I had ever met. His uncanny ability to use his sense of humor to defuse intense situations was just amazing,” Scott Howell, a former Utah state senator.

“When I recruited candidates up there, he was the first to offer advice to them. He wanted to make this a better community and better state,” Howell remembered. “I didn’t know anyone who didn’t have a good impression of their interactions with him.”

Holbrook served in the Air National Guard for 24 years.

He is survived by his wife, five children, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.


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