Utah County’s elections will be run by a clerk who questions the 2020 election; incumbent clerks in Summit and Washington counties reelected

Democrat Lannie Chapman takes a clear lead over Republican Goud Maragani in Salt Lake County, according to early returns.

Three of six county clerk races in Utah’s 2022 midterm elections have been decided.

Incumbents in Washington and Summit counties are projected to easily win reelection, while the Republican nominee in Utah County — a candidate who questioned the results of President Joe Biden’s 2022 victory — will lead future elections in Utah’s second most populous county.

Aaron Davidson, the Utah County Republican, made it clear in public appearances ahead of the midterms that he questions the results of the 2020 election. His campaign website says he’s against universal mail-in ballots, and he has spoken during a panel for a movie espousing baseless conspiracy theories.

Washington County Clerk/Auditor Susan Lewis easily won her reelection bid, beating out a write-in candidate that also espoused baseless conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 presidential election.

Summit County Clerk Evelyn Furst also won her reelection with little resistance. She also defeated a write-in candidate who questioned the 2020 election results.

As of noon on Wednesday, early tallies in Salt Lake, San Juan, and Wayne counties had not determined a projected winner of those clerk races — although Democrat Lannie Chapman in Salt Lake County appears to be on her way to victory.

County clerks control Utah local elections, and like others holding public office in Utah, voters get to choose who holds this position.

A number of candidates have stated they think the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. Four counties — Salt Lake, Summit, Utah and Washington counties — have a candidate who has openly questioned Joe Biden’s victory.

Salt Lake County

Two candidates — Democrat Lannie Chapman and Republican Goud Maragani — are vying to replace the retiring Sherrie Swensen, who served as the county’s clerk for over 30 years.

By Wednesday morning, early returns showed Chapman leads Maragani, 56% to 44%, with no more results publishing until Thursday.

Chapman spoke onstage Tuesday night at the Utah Democratic Party’s event in downtown Salt Lake City. She thanked many people, including her “role model and mentor,” Swensen.

“We want to serve the public, not just the elite few, but all of Salt Lake County,” Chapman said. Chapman has worked as the county’s chief deputy clerk since 2019, and Maragani is an attorney.

A Salt Lake Tribune investigation revealed Maragani repeatedly said Democrats cheated and stole the 2020 election. Other posts show Maragani called Democrats “commies” and “Marxists.”

Maragani later walked back those statements, saying during a candidate forum, “At one time, I did think the 2020 election was stolen.”

Utah County

Utah County had two clerk candidates on the ballot — GOP candidate Davidson and Independent American candidate Jake Oaks. Both were running to replace the outgoing clerk, Josh Daniels.

According to early results, Davidson lead with 82.2% of the vote, while Oaks has 13.6%.

Earlier this year, Davidson spoke as part of a panel before a screening of 2000 Mules, a conspiracy documentary that claims, without evidence, that election drop boxes were stuffed with fraudulent ballots and led to Biden’s 2020 win. Davidson also suggested earlier this year that the county should not be spending money on the Monkeypox vaccine because it would benefit gay men.

Oaks drew scrutiny earlier this year when he said that, if elected, he would not issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. He claimed any federal regulation of marriage is unconstitutional.

Summit County

Furse, the Democratic nominee and current Summit County Clerk, was the sole candidate on the ballot. However, write-in candidate Dawn Mathiesen Langston was also an option for voters.

According to early returns from nearly 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning, Furse had 96% of the votes cast in the clerk’s race.

Mathiesen Langston was asked by The Tribune earlier this year if she believed Biden won the 2020 election, and she replied, “I don’t know. And until we have a forensic audit on all of the votes, we won’t know.”

Washington County

Like Summit, Washington County has one candidate on the ballot, and it’s the current clerk seeking reelection.

Clerk/Auditor Lewis has 92.5% of the vote, according to early returns, and will continue to lead future elections in Washington County.

Lewis’ opponent is write-in candidate Patricia Kent — who told The Tribune earlier this year that Biden “absolutely” did not win the 2020 election. As of Tuesday night, Kent had 7.4% of the vote.

Kent founded the Liberty Action Coalition in 2020, and said during one of the group’s meetings last month that drag shows in the county promote the grooming of children for satanic worship.

San Juan County

Republican incumbent Lyman Duncan is running for reelection as San Juan County’s Clerk/Auditor. His opponent is Democratic candidate Garrett Thomas Holly.

Duncan has 57.7% of the vote, according to early returns, while Holly had 42.3%.

Duncan was sworn in as the county’s clerk/auditor in August 2021, and before that he worked in the health care industry for Utah Navajo Health System and San Juan Health.

A campaign fundraising site for Holly through ActBlue, a clearinghouse for Democratic donations, says he has “years of experience in IT system management, healthcare administration, and compliance auditing for complex healthcare providers.”

Wayne County

Voters in Wayne County have no candidates on their ballots, but had the opportunity to choose between two candidates.

The county has two write-in candidates, Adrian Ruger and Felicia Snow. Results for the race were not publicly available as of Wednesday morning.

Wayne County’s website indicates that Snow is a deputy clerk in the clerk/auditor’s office. State salary data indicates she has worked as a Wayne County deputy clerk since at least 2019.

A campaign Facebook page for Ruger identifies him as a Republican, and it suggests he ran as a write-in candidate for the same job in 2018.