Williams wins mayoral race, Evanston school board to see three new faces

EVANSTON — Increased voter turnout delayed election results for a couple of hours on Tuesday night, as the Uinta County Clerk’s Office tallied 6,709 ballots, 15 percent more than the 2014 midterm general election. Absentee ballots in particular saw a large increase, Uinta County Clerk Amanda Hutchinson, who oversees local elections, said.

In a tight race for mayor of Evanston, incumbent Kent Williams edged out former mayor Joy Bell, 1,618 votes to 1,569, according to the final unofficial report issued by Hutchinson’s office late Tuesday night. The results were canvassed on Thursday, and will become official shortly after, though they were not available by press time.

Williams told the Herald that he appreciates the community support he received, and he offered kind words for his opponent, whom he’s beaten now in two straight elections.

“I appreciate the honorable race that Joy (Bell) ran along with me,” he said. “I recognize her love for our community and great support she also received. I do not take anything for granted and will do my best to honor her supporters as well. Now it’s back to business. Congratulations to all the candidates in the various races as each one affect[s] us all. Evanston is a great place, and together we can keep it that way.”

Mikal Welling beat Deborah Reno for an opening in Ward 1 of the Evanston City Council. Welling received 626 votes to Reno’s 388. The seat is currently occupied by Wendy Schuler, who was elected Tuesday to the state senate. There were 111 write-in votes for Ward 1, most of which were likely for Michael Searle, who pushed for write-ins after losing the primary in August.

Tib Ottley, who was appointed to the council last month, won an unopposed race in Ward 2. 

Ward 3 incumbent David Welling beat challenger Maurizio Mariotti, though Mariotti, who is currently in jail facing 15 felony charges related to child pornography, still garnered 165 votes to Welling’s 497.

Uinta County Commissioner Eric South earned 3,544 votes to secure one of two commissioners’ seats up for grabs. Fellow Republican candidate Mark Anderson will join him after beating out Democrat David Tanner. Anderson received 3,569 votes to Tanner’s 2,227. Outgoing commissioner Wendell Fraughton, who was campaigning as a write-in candidate after losing the primary, is likely responsible for most of the 669 write-in votes in that race.

Anderson commended voters Wednesday morning, even those who didn’t support him.

“Voting is such a great opportunity and right we have in this great country,” Anderson told the Herald. “Our voter turnout shows the dedication and love we all have for our city, county and state. I also congratulate Eric South for his success and look forward to working with him as well as Commissioner Welling for the coming years.”

Anderson said he’s ready to learn more about the county’s business, and he encouraged community involvement.

“As an incoming commissioner,” he said. “I plan to learn as much as I can before January and hopefully hit the ground running. I would ask all those that have wishes or concerns to always know that I am a listening ear, and the only way for me to be successful at voting correctly is by people continuing to share with me their thoughts on the issues. I am so humbly grateful for the opportunity and promise to do all I can to be the commissioner this great county deserves.”

All other county offices included Republicans who were running unopposed. Sheriff Doug Matthews will remain in office for another four years, along with county attorney Loretta Howieson, county clerk Amanda Hutchinson, district court clerk Kerri Wright, treasurer Terry Brimhall, assessor Lori Perkins and county coroner Greg Crandall.

Uinta County voters opted to retain all three judges who were on the ballot: Craig L. Jones, John Prokos and Frank Zebre. 

Five seats were up for grabs on the Uinta County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees. Newcomer Christa Barker led the way 2,141 votes, with incumbent Jenny Welling earning 1,816. They’ll be joined by Caleb Guild, Russell Cox and incumbent Cassie Torres. Torres received 1,368 votes, while David Peterson received 1,366. With only a two-vote lead, that race required a recount. As officials canvassed the election results on Thursday, Peterson gained one vote from a provisional ballot, still short of making the cut.

Colt Hamilton received 1,262 votes for school board, while RaeAnne Belnap and Susie Erickson fell short with 1,135 and 1,124 votes, respectively. Rounding out the field of 11 Evanston school board candidates were Mindi Swensen with 1,097 votes and Chris Reno with 490.

Ballot propositions to continue a 3-percent lodging tax and a 2-mill levy for BOCES both easily passed.

In Bear River, three candidates ran for two town council seats. Incumbents Margaret Huggins and Brian Stokes will keep their seats, receiving 139 and 150 votes, respectively. Robin Rhodes, who received enough write-in votes in the primary to be on Tuesday’s ballot, received 44 votes in the general election.

In the Bridger Valley, Lyman Mayor Bronson Berg was re-elected; he ran unopposed. Tansy Shelton and Andrew Spray also ran unopposed for two seats on the town council. Spray was re-elected and Shelton will take Jana Condos’ seat after she didn’t run for re-election.

In Mountain View, Sarah Butters put up a fight against town council incumbents Bryan Ayres and Jacob Porter, though her 190 votes fell short of Ayres’ 249 and Porters’ 273 votes. With two seats available, Porter and Ayres will each serve another term.

In the most contested Valley race, incumbents Kelly Carpenter and Dale Madsen will remain on the board for Uinta County School District No. 4. Carpenter led the way in a fairly close race with 695 votes. Dale Madsen received 502 votes, and challengers Don Brunski and Charlotte Black received 443 and 435 votes, respectively.

In another uncontested race, Spencer Eyre and Jason Lamberti will remain on the Uinta County School District No. 6 Board of Trustees.

There were no surprises in the statewide and federal offices on local ballots, with Republicans sweeping the contests.

Evanston’s Wendy Schuler ran unopposed and will represent District 15 in the Wyoming State Senate. Kemmerer’s Tom Crank was re-elected after an unopposed general election. He represents Wyoming House District 18. Fellow Republicans Garry Piiparinen and Danny Eyre also ran unopposed and were re-elected to the Wyoming State House of Representatives. Piiparinen represents HD 49, and Eyre represents HD 19.

Republican Mark Gordon handily beat his Democratic counterpart, Mary Throne, 4,597 to 1,349 in the gubernatorial race in Uinta County. Minor party candidates Rex Rammell (C) and Lawrence Struempf (L) earned just 329 and 153 votes, respectively, from Uinta County voters.

Republican incumbent Edward Buchanan will remain Wyoming’s secretary of state. In Uinta County he received 4,696 votes. Democrat challenger James Bird earned 1,232, and Libertarian candidate Kit Carson III received 364 votes.

Republican Kristi Racines will take over for Cynthia Cloud as auditor in January. Racines beat Democratic challenger Jeff Dockter 4,945 votes to 1,250.

Curt Meier continued the Republican dominance in Uinta County, receiving 4,899 votes to Democrat Chris Lowry’s 1,303. Meier will replace governor-elect Mark Gordon as treasurer.

Republican incumbent Jillian Balow will serve another term after she ran unopposed for superintendent of public instruction.

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso and Rep. Liz Cheney each won handily in Uinta County and statewide results. Barrasso challengers Democrat Gary Trauner and Libertarian Joseph Porambo earned 1,424 and 240 votes, respectively, not nearly enough to challenge Barrasso’s 4,763 votes from Uinta County residents.

Cheney was re-elected just as easily. She earned 4,567 votes, while Democrat Greg Hunter received 1,309. Minor party candidates Constitutionalist Daniel Cummings and Libertarian Richard Brubaker received just 293 and 229 votes, respectively. The complete unofficial results from Tuesday’s election can be found at uintacounty.com.

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