As early election results filtered in Tuesday night, it appeared that incumbent Park City Mayor Andy Beerman was trailing Councilwoman Nann Worel, 61% to 38%.
Beerman, who served one term as mayor, trailed Worel in the race from the start, and finished a distant second to Worel in the primary. In the closing week of the election he had been battered by a controversy over a Black Lives Matter mural, one of four racial justice murals painted on Park City’s Main Street.
It wasn’t necessarily the message of the mural that dogged him. He was accused of inadequately involving the council in the decision and of having misrepresented what he knew about the planned mural and when he knew it.
Worel, who has been on the City Council since 2016, promised a more inclusive leadership style.
Margin in Heber City mayoral race is just 66 votes
A short drive south from the home of Sundance, Heber City Councilwoman Heidi Franco led the unofficial, and too early, mayoral election results.
In a race shaped by the rapid growth of Heber City, and how to best manage a municipality with rural roots, Franco was only 2 percentage points ahead of incumbent Mayor Kelleen Potter. Overnight Tuesday and into early Wednesday morning, the councilwoman led the mayoral election by 66 ballots.
Four years ago, Potter was the first woman to be elected mayor in Heber City history. If she wins, Franco would be the second.
Ranked choice voting in Moab nets a speedy result
And in southeastern Utah, the City of Moab declared that voters had elected a new mayor for the popular tourist community by using ranked choice voting.
Mayor-elect Joette Langianese ousted second-place finisher Bill Winfield by 6 percentage points. The results come after five rounds of ranked choice votes in a crowded field of six candidates.
But, Langianese didn’t find out until 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning that she was the new mayor-elect.
She’d spent election night in the La Sal Mountains in the community of Willow Basin at her family’s two yurts. Only one phone call went through to her cell, and that’s when first learned of an indication that she’s won the mayor’s race. When she came down the mountains, her phone went crazy, she said.
“Now I have to really get to work and I have to start thinking about all the things that I would like to accomplish and get started once I’m able to take office at city hall,” Langianese said.
Langianese ran on a platform of health, safety and welfare of all Moab residents, according to her official campaign page.
Young ahead in Orem mayor race
In Orem Tuesday night along the Wasatch Front, former Mayor Jim Evans was down to his opponent, Dave Young, in his quest to recapture the post, according to early election results.
The initial, unofficial numbers showed Evans 16 percentage points behind Young in a race that has centered on issues of public safety and growth. The two candidates have received 58% and 42% of the vote.
Those topics came to the forefront earlier in the election season with a flap over a property owner’s requirement that — in order to place signs on its real estate — candidates must first sign an agreement to support continued development on their land. Evans signed the pledge to back the existing growth plans for the University Place mall property, while Young refused to endorse the document.
Mayor Kaufusi holds on to lead in Provo
In Provo, election results showed Mayor Michelle Kaufusi with a strong lead over her opponent — a man who made headlines last year when he was shot while driving through a crowd of protesters.
Ken Dudley trailed Kaufusi, who was first elected mayor in 2017, by 75% to 25%, according to initial unofficial numbers released Tuesday evening.
Dudley said he launched his campaign in part because of his experience last year, when he was shot during a protest against police violence. He had been driving his SUV into the group of demonstrators at the time, and participants in the protest have said they felt endangered. A protester has been charged in connection with Dudley’s shooting.
Since then, Dudley joined United Citizens Alarm, a militia group that has shown up at Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the state.
Kaufusi noted that she’d been endorsed by professional firefighters and police.
New leaders in Davis County
There are 15 cities and towns in Davis County, the third-most populous county in the state, and after this election, it looks like residents could end up with at least 11 and possibly a dozen brand-new mayors.
The bulk of that is attrition. Ten of the mayors opted not to seek reelection.
By Wednesday evening, two-term incumbent Bountiful Mayor Randy Lewis was way behind his challenger, two-term Councilwoman Kendalyn Keyes Harris, who led Lewis two-to-one.
Lewis ruffled feathers in Bountiful, including wading into a dispute over the Bountiful High School Braves mascot, defending the logo, telling one woman to be “less easily offended,” and challenging whether she was an “official representative” of offended Indigenous communities.
That was number 11.
And in Clinton, early returns put incumbent Mayor Mitch Adams in a nail-biter with challenger Brandon Stanger. Adams trailed by 60 votes Wednesday night.
Mark Shepherd won a third term as Clearfield mayor, running unopposed, and Joy Petro won reelection in Layton.
North Salt Lake City Councilmember Brian Horrocks looked to be cruising to an easy win in the race to replace Len Arave as mayor.
Arave, who was first elected in 2009, is stepping down after 12 years
Horrocks, who ran against Gary Widders, had received just over 80% of the vote in results posted on Wednesday evening.
First-term Syracuse Mayor Mike Gailey trailed Councilmember Dave Maughan by 413 votes in the tight mayoral contest.
Maughan has been a member of the City Council since 2015.
Elsewhere, Clark Wilkinson led Lawrence Wright in the race for Centerville mayor; Brett Anderson led Rebecca Wayment in the Farmington race; Tamara Tran had a commanding lead Jay Welk in Kaysville.
St. George mayor predicted to hold on
Mori Kessler of the St. George News reported Tuesday night that Michele Randall was projected to win her first election as St. George mayor. Randall was appointed by the City Council after former Mayor Jon Pike took a position in the Gov. Spencer Cox administration at the start of the year.
Cedar City Mayor Wilson Edwards held on
Also in southwest Utah, Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson Edwards has held onto her position, so far, by 16 votes, according to an unofficial tally late Tuesday.
Wilson Edwards, the city’s first female mayor and who ran for her third term, received 2,614 votes to businessman Garth Orwin Green’s 2,598 votes. The election results have not been finalized.
The incumbent mayor received a majority of the mail-in ballot, 2,531 to 2,491, but most Election Day voters supported Green 107-83.
Alastair Lee Bitsóí, Bethany Rodgers, Bryan Schott and Robert Gehrke of The Salt Lake Tribune reported and wrote this story.