One primary race in Washington County remains too close to call, others show clear victors

ST. GEORGE — With the conclusion of the 2022 Republican primary election in Utah, preliminary numbers hand the victory to the incumbent on the congressional level while making way for some new faces on the legislative level in Washington County.

In this file photo, Sen. Mike Lee poses for a photo with a constituent at the 2022 Washington County Republican nominating convention, St. George, Utah, April 9, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Incumbents Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Chris Stewart both secured their spots running up to the November election. Lee defeated challengers Ally Isom and Becky Edwards with 62% of the overall vote, while Stewart beat challenger Erin Rider with 81% of the vote, according to the latest vote counts.

Lee goes on the face independent candidate Evan McMullin and Libertarian James Hansen in the general election while Stewart will go up against Democrat Nick Mitchell, Constitution Party candidate Cassie Easley and United Utah candidate Jaymac McFarland.

While the results of Tuesday night are not likely to change much in the coming weeks as numbers are made official, current results remain unofficial and preliminary and are subject to change until they are officially canvased by county and state officials.

In the Washington County Commission Seat A race, incumbent Gil Almquist won the primary with 62% of the vote to challenger Allen Davis’ 38%.

“I feel good about the results,” Almquist told St. George News Wednesday, adding that people know he is a conservative who supports the Dixie name, supports law enforcement and was against pandemic-triggered mandates and business closures.

In this file photo, Washington County Commissioner Gil Almquist (pictured) and challenger Allen Davis debate as a part of the Republican primary race for Commission Seat A, St. George, Utah, May17, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“The people that know that went to the polls and voted for me,” he said. “I want to thank the residents of Washington County and let them know that as commissioners, our heads are not in the sand. We know the stressors they face and we’re definitely working on them every single day.”

In Washington County’s legislative races, House Districts 73 and 74 show newcomers Colin Jack and Neil Walter as the winners with 62% and 61% of the vote respectively.

Jack, who is an electrical engineer with Dixie Power, also was selected by the Washington County Republican Party to serve the remainder of former Rep. Travis Seegmiller’s current term, defeated Nina Barnes who garnered 37% of the vote.

“I’m feeling really good and really grateful,” Jack said Wednesday.

Jack, who is a staunch supporter of Utah’s caucus-convention system, said yesterday proved that “grassroots still work in Washington County,” as the winners were primarily the candidates picked by the delegates and not those who went the signature route to get on the ballot.

In this file photo, Colin Jack participates in a candidate debate for House District 73 had at the Dixie Convention Center, St. George, Utah, May 19, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“The convention still works and shows us that the delegates are in sync with their neighbors when choosing the candidates the people want,” he said.

Among the issues Jack said he hopes to tackle when in office include opposing so-called “green bills” that he feels will do more harm than good, looking at how the state manages elections and revisiting “SB 54,” the bill and subsequent law that paved the way for the signature gathering process allowing candidates to bypass the convention system.

As he is unopposed in the general election, Jack will assume his first official term in January 2023.

In the race for House District 74, Neil Walter defeated challenger Kristy Pike.

Walter, along with Jack and House 72 candidate Willie Billings and others, attended an election party held by the Defending Southwestern Utah Heritage Coalition Tuesday night and gave a speech following his projected win.

In this file photo, House 74 candidate Neil Walter speaks to the delegates during the 2022 Washington County Republican nominating convention, St. George, Utah, April 9, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“This is something that I know all of you have been working very hard for,” he said. “I’m excited to be a part of what I think is an important day in Washington County where you can say it’s OK to support Utah’s Dixie.”

Like Jack, Walter, who is the CEO of NAI Excel, voiced his support for the caucus-convention system and thanked those present for their engagement and participation in that process.

“I am grateful for your support and consideration,” he said.

Walter will assume office in January 2023 as he is unopposed in the general election. He will be succeeding Rep. Lowry Snow who choose not to run for reelection.

Results for House District 72 are too close to call for now between Joseph Elison and Willie Billings. On Tuesday night Elison had a single-point lead with 50% of the vote to Billings’ 49%. This flipped Wednesday morning with an update placing Billings in the lead with 50% to Elison who moved to 49%, only to flip once more as the day progressed.

In this file photo, Joseph Elison speakers during a candidate debate for House District 74 had at the Dixie Convention Center, St. George, Utah, May 19, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Elison once more gains a razor-thin lead over Billings with 3,940 votes (50.05%) to 3,932 (49.95%)

Whoever takes House 72 will face Democrat candidate Ila Fica in the general election. The winner will also replace long-serving Rep. Brad Last who chose not to seek reelection.

In the Senate 28 race, incumbent Sen. Evan Vickers defeated challenger Patrick Larson. Vickers took 71% of the vote overall for a Senate district that covers parts of Beaver, Iron and Washington counties.

Vickers goes on the face Libertarian Barry Short and United Utah candidate Patricia Bradford.

Click here for Iron County primary results.

The general election is set for Nov. 8.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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