YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE

Democrats on track to pick up three Utah state house seats

Nov 4, 2020, 6:36 PM
Utah state house...
Democrats are on track to pick up three seats in the Utah state house and are competitive in several others. (Photo: Kelli Pierce)
(Photo: Kelli Pierce)

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Democratic candidates are currently in the lead in three close races for state house seats in the suburbs of Salt Lake City. 

Democrats are also competitive in four more races in Salt Lake and Wasatch counties. 

Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Merchant believes the state’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a big motivator. 

“[COVID-19] hasn’t slowed down, at least on the Democratic side, the number of people interested in volunteering, helping out,” Merchant says. 

Another way Democrats have attracted voters is by hitting Republicans for their support for a recent failed tax reform plan, as well as for changing several voter-approved referendums. 

“We’ve seen that with three propositions. We’ve seen that with ‘so-called’ tax reform that the people rejected,” Merchant says. “That has really been a key message that we’ve used to get voters out.”  

Political analysts believe another reason for the close races is the changing voter makeup of longtime conservative districts in the Salt Lake City suburbs. 

In House District 38, longtime Rep. Eric Hutchings (R-Kearns) had about 46.5% of the vote to challenger Ashley Matthews’s 53.5%.

Rep. Jim Dunnigan (R-Taylorsville) is behind Democrat Lynette Wendel 48.8% to her 51.2%.

And in House District 45, Rep. Steve Eliason (R-Sandy) is trailing Democrat Wendy Davis, who has 52.6% to his 47.4%. 

In all three races, the candidates are separated by fewer than 650 votes each. 

Democrats are also competitive in races in West Valley City, Heber City, and another in Sandy.  

However, it is unlikely that they will break the Republican supermajority.

Even so, Merchant is happy any time Democrats are competitive in the Utah state house. 

“Republican legislators who get really close to losing, but still win, one of two things happens. They either begin to moderate their views…or they retire,” Merchant says.    

Today’s Top Stories

Your Voice, Your Vote

ballot count amendments utah...
Lindsay Aerts

County clerks report more poll watchers, scrutiny ahead of Utah primary

Ahead of the 2022 Utah Primary election, clerks Salt Lake and Utah counties are reporting more poll watchers are serving as watchdogs.
4 months ago
Utahns could get a tax cut....
LINDSAY AERTS AND KIRA HOFFELMEYER

Utah Senate passes a tax cut for Utahns, Gov. Cox says he will sign it

The Utah Senate just unanimously passed a bill, giving Utahns a big tax cut. People in the state could see $193 million back in taxes.
8 months ago
utah poll unfavorable to president biden...
Mary Richards

New poll shows low favorability in Utah for President Biden

The Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows that 45% of Utah residents have a favorable opinion of President Joe Biden, while 3% aren’t sure.
2 years ago
Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the final certifica...
LISA MASCARO, ERIC TUCKER, MARY CLARE JALONICK and ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press

Biden win confirmed after violent pro-Trump protestors storms US Capitol

Congress has confirmed Democrat Joe Biden as the presidential election winner, hours after violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
2 years ago
president trump trial...
ZEKE MILLER and JILL COLVIN Associated Press

Trump says his term is ending, transition will be orderly

President Donald Trump says there will be an “orderly transition on January 20th” now that Congress has concluded the electoral vote count certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
2 years ago
(Some of the flags and signs outside the Utah State Capitol.  Credit: Paul Nelson)...
Paul Nelson

Hundreds participate in “Stop The Steal” rally at Utah State Capitol

Hundreds of President Trump’s supporters in Utah gather on the Capitol grounds to protest what they call the stealing of the presidential election. 
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Democrats on track to pick up three Utah state house seats