Large turnout for election
Despite a lack of local races, a large number of San Juan County voters participated in the November 4 General Election that will send Democrat Barack Obama to the White House for the next four years.
By a narrow margin, San Juan County voters preferred Republican John McCain over Obama in the race for the US Presidency. McCain received 2,586 votes in San Juan County (51.8 percent), compared to 2,322 for Obama (46.5 percent). McCain carried the State of Utah with 62.87 percent of the vote.
In total, an estimated 4,992 San Juan County residents voted in the Presidential election. This compares to 4,950 San Juan County voters who participated in the 2004 Presidential election that sent George W. Bush to the White House for a second term.
There are 171 provisional ballots that have yet to be counted. They will be considered before Commissioners canvass the election next week.
San Juan County Clerk Norman Johnson reports that more than 600 county residents voted early.
Monticello will initiate two new sales taxes after receiving voter approval in the general election. A recreation and a transportation sales tax will total .4 percent beginning January 1, 2009 and will provide funding for the respective programs in the city. A total of 76 percent of voters approved the recreation tax and 72 percent of voters approved the transportation tax.
San Juan County will be represented by a Republican in the Utah State Senate for the first time in several decades after Republican David Hinkins defeated Democrat Brad King. They sought the Senate seat vacated by long-time Senator Mike Dmitrich. King had spent several terms in the House of Representatives and had the advantage of a seat held by a Democrat for years, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Hinkins.
Hinkins carried his home of Emery County by a large margin and ran away from King by securing 72.4 percent of the vote in the 21 precincts of the district in Utah County.
In San Juan County, 55.3 percent of the votes went to King. Monticello resident Michael Martin earned 2.8 percent of the vote as a candidate of the Constitution Party.
Democrat Christine Watkins of Price will represent San Juan County in the Utah House of Representatives after earning 58 percent of votes over Republican challenger Jerry Anderson. San Juan County voters narrowly preferred Watkins over Anderson by a 52 to 48 percent margin.
There are no changes in the local representatives to the United States Congress as Democrat Jim Matheson easily defeated Republican challenger Bill Dew in San Juan County and the Second District. Matheson garnered 65.9 percent of votes in the county and 63.27 percent of votes cast throughout the district.
Utah’s Governor and Attorney General will remain the same for another four years as the incumbents won a second term in office. Republican Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. secured 77.7 percent of the vote in San Juan County and 60.5 percent of the vote statewide, while Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff secured 53.3 percent of votes in San Juan County and 69.7 percent of the vote statewide.
Republicans Auston Johnson and Richard Ellis were elected State Auditor and Treasurer, respectively.
All three Seventh District Judges were retained in the General Election. Judge Lyle R. Anderson earned 71.8 percent positive votes throughout the district, despite having more negative than positive votes in Grand County. In San Juan County, 70.8 percent voted to retain Anderson. Mary Manley received 80.4 percent positive votes (80 percent in San Juan County) and Scott Johansen had 79.4 percent positive votes (78.5 percent in San Juan County).
Five amendments to the Utah Constitution were approved by a large margin.
David Bronson will serve as San Juan County Surveyor in the first election for that office in two decades. Commissioners made the surveyor an elected position in the past year. Bronson, who has been county surveyor for several years, was unopposed on the ballot.
In unopposed races, Bruce Adams was elected to serve four more years on the San Juan County Commission, while the San Juan School Board retained Merri Shumway, Debbie Christiansen and Bill Boyle for four more years.