Preliminary primary election results show favorites in five Salt Lake County cities


The clerk’s office expects more updates over the next two weeks as it counts last-minute and provisional ballots.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) A voter casts their ballot in the Murray Town Hall drop box on Tuesday, August 10, 2021.

Salt Lake County reports early, unofficial results for its five cities that held primary elections Tuesday. In West Valley City, Utah’s second largest municipality, two city council members are in the lead for mayor.

Preliminary results released shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m. had candidate Karen Lang in the lead with 13 points and over 1,000 votes against Steve Buhler. Lang was elected to West Valley City Council in 2011 and previously served on the city’s planning commission and tree committee. She owns the Oakbridge Greenhouse. Buhler was elected to the Board in 2009 and works as a lawyer.

The first results show that the race is still close between Buhler and Tom Huynh, another member of the city council, who was behind Buhler by less than 100 votes. Arnold M. Jones, the only mayoral candidate who is not a member of city council, was behind with 6.23% of the 8,055 ballots counted, about 20 points behind Huynh.

Two seats on the West Valley City Council are also up for grabs this year. The first unofficial District 2 results show Scott Harmon ahead of Chris Bell by almost 22 points. Philip Wayman is behind Bell by just under 10 points. The other district up for election this year, District 4, did not have a primary.

Tuesday night’s preliminary report includes the results of the mail-in votes that the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office verified and processed. The office expects periodic updates as polling centers close and return last-minute ballots to the county government center.

The two candidates with the most votes will compete in the legislative elections on November 2.

Here are the first results of the other municipalities which organize primaries:

  • Herriman – Lorin Palmer leads the mayoral race with 47% of the ballots counted so far. Clint Smith received 24.7% of the votes counted, followed by Jared Esselman with 23.9%. Nicole Grange is lagging behind at 4.3%.

  • Murray – Brett A. Hales leads the mayoral race with 62% of the ballots counted so far. Clark Bullen is in second place with 29.2%, followed by Adam Kent Fitzgerald with 4.9% and Alexander Teemsma with 3.9%. The District 4 City Council primary was called off because one of the candidates missed the campaign finance declaration deadline and was disqualified.

  • Taylorsville – Larry Johnson leads the District 5 City Council race with 40.1% of the vote, followed by Robert Knudsen with 32.2%. Paul R. Shulte has so far received 27.6% of the counted ballots.

  • West Jordan – Three extraordinary seats are up for election this year. The first unofficial results show Pamela Bloom with 20.5% of the votes counted, incumbent Kayleen Whitelock with 19.9%, incumbent Kelvin Green with 16.7%, incumbent Chad Lamb with 15.5%, Mikey Smith with 9.2%, Mike S. Withers with 8.6%, Craig F. Heath with 6.2% and Tyrone Fields with 3.6%.

Four types of ballots will not be counted on election night, including mail-in ballots delivered to polling centers, mail-in ballots deposited in drop boxes on primary election day, ballots postal ballot received after the election but stamped before August 9. and provisional ballots collected at polling centers.

The clerk’s office will verify signatures and count those ballots during the two-week canvassing period, posting occasional results until the canvassing councils meet to certify the primary elections in each city on the 24th. August.

The majority of Salt Lake County municipalities either skipped the primary elections this year by opting for a pilot classification vote, or did not have enough candidate records to warrant a primary.

Towns and townships in the county that will hold preferential ballot elections in November include Salt Lake City, Bluffdale, Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Magna Metro Township, Midvale, Millcreek, Riverton, Sandy and South Salt Lake. Candidates who wish to run for positions like mayor and city council in these cities should file their case with their local secretary or clerk by August 17.

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