Republicans regain leads, but House Speaker Curtis ousted



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Team CoverageSome of the biggest races in Utah on Election Night were in the Utah Legislature. Utah's Speaker of the House is out, and two controversial lawmakers barely got re-elected.

Greg Curtis becomes the first sitting Speaker of the House in Utah to fail in his re-election bid in at least 40 years. Democrat Jay Seegmiller won by 11 percent, or nearly 1,400 votes.

Pollster Dan Jones explained the loss by saying, "The longer you're in, the more enemies you accumulate. And he [Curtis] managed to do that."

Utah Republican Party chair Stan Lockhart says Curtis will be missed. "Greg was an exceptional legislator in every sense of the word. He knew the process very well. He understood how to get things done. The Legislature will miss that experience and that institutional knowledge," he said.

It was Seegmiller's third shot at unseating Curtis. Curtis lost despite out-fundraising his opponent by $500,000. In a statement, Curtis said he wishes Seegmiller well and is going to take the opportunity of his loss and enjoy a short vacation.

Two other lawmakers had close calls. In Senate District 10, controversial Senator Chris Buttars won 49 percent of the vote over challenger John Rendell. Another tight race was in House District 51, where incumbent Greg Hughes ended up with 51 percent of the vote over challenger Lisa Johnson.

In the U.S. House District 1 race, with 99.25 percent of precincts reporting, incumbent Rob Bishop has 65 percent of the vote.

Bishop told KSL his focus will be to fix the energy situation, a necessity in order to fix the economy. "We will not be able to tackle the economy until we solve the energy issue first. And even though prices are going down, we have to solve that issue. We have to make our country energy-independent, then long-term economic changes will take place," he said.

Utah's lone Democrat in Congress, Rep. Jim Matheson, won a fifth term. Matheson beat retired homebuilder Bill Dew in Utah's District 2, which includes part of Salt Lake County through eastern and southern Utah.

"For as long as I have been doing this, this election is different. I think everyone in the room knows that. This election is different because something is happening in this country," Matheson said.

Matheson says voters want people in public office to set aside the partisan bickering.

In the 3rd District, newcomer Jason Chaffetz had 66 percent of the vote to Bennion Spencer's 28 percent.

Gov. Jon Huntsman holds onto his office with 78 percent of the votes. The outcome for the governor's race was never in doubt. Huntsman has been one of the nation's most popular governors during his first four years in office, pursuing a moderate agenda in a highly conservative state.

"Let me thank the good people of this state for putting us in once again for one final term," he said.

His opponent, Bob Springmeyer, said, "When I entered this race, I knew we had some big hurdles to cross and some big hills to climb. We were up against some pretty daunting odds, but I'm pleased and proud of how well we've done."

Huntsman says working to improve the state's economy will be his top priority.

In the Attorney General race, Mark Shurtleff has 70 percent of the votes, with 99.73 percent reporting.

For State Treasurer, Richard Ellis, who survived a tough party nomination, secured the office with 67 percent of the votes. His opponent Dick Clark has 33 percent.

The State Auditor race was low-profile, but Republican Auston Johnson received 59 percent of the vote to Clare Collard's 32 percent.

Utah Amendment A, which clarifies who succeeds the governor in the event he or she leaves office, passed with 76 percent of the vote.

Utah Amendment B, about the state trust fund, passed with no real opposition, holding 66 percent of the vote.

Amendment C, changing the start date of the Legislative session, also passed.

Amendment D, which allows the Legislature to re-draw districts after their next session ha 78 percent of the yes vote.

Amendment E, which would have allowed school trust fund money to be invested in stocks and bonds is the only one that was defeated. Fifty-six percent of the votes were against it.

In Salt Lake County, Mayor Corroon won handily over Republican Michael Renckert.

In the Salt Lake County Council at Large race, incumbent Randy Horiuchi won over challenger Steve Debry.

For Council Seat 4, Democrat Jani Iwamoto beat incumbent Mark Crockett. And for Council Seat 2, Republican incumbent Michael Jensen won. Republican Max Burdick defeated Democrat Roger Harding for Seat 6.

The propositions did very well. Proposition 1 for Tracy Aviary and Proposition 2 for Hogle Zoo both passed.

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