The 2010 Utah General Election is in the books, and the norm was one-sided victories. In the governor's race, incumbent Republican Gary Herbert cruised to 32 percentage point victory over Democrat Peter Corroon. In the U.S. Senate race, Republican Mike Lee waltzed to a 28 percentage point win over Democrat Sam Granato. In the U.S House District 1 race, incumbent Republican Rob Bishop rolled over second-time Democratic challenger Morgan Bowen by 45 percentage points. And in the U.S. House District 3 race, incumbent Republican Jason Chaffetz crushed Republican-turned-Democrat Karen Hyer by 49 percentage points.
Election results available at Utah.gov and the Salt Lake Tribune website.
But one of the statewide races defied the trend. Second District Congressman Jim Matheson did win re-election, but only by a narrow margin. And if recent polling trends are to be believed, if the election had taken place a week later, Matheson would have lost. An October 18th Dan Jones poll had Matheson up by 26 points, while an October 28th Dan Jones poll showed Philpot rapidly closing the gap to 12 points. On November 2nd, Matheson won by only five percentage points.
Morgan Philpot didn't lose -- he just ran out of time. But it counts nonetheless. Updated KSL news video embedded below:
Utah.gov provides a county-by-county breakdown. Philpot actually won in 9 of the 16 counties that all or in part make up the Second District. Unfortunately, one of the counties he lost was Salt Lake County, where 463 of the district's total 855 precincts are located. And in Salt Lake County, Philpot lost by nearly 34,000 votes. Matheson doesn't "own" all of Salt Lake County, just that part located mostly east of I-15. Fortunately for him, that's the most Democratic part (except for Sandy and Draper). And the big blue bubble held firm for him.
Matheson said his victory indicates that Utahns know him well. "I'm an independent voice. I put Utah's agenda above politics and party," Matheson said. Matheson, part of the so-called Blue Dogs — a group of conservative Democrats in the House, had distanced himself from Pelosi and Obama. He also attributed his success to hard-working volunteers. But as of post time, Philpot had not conceded. Veteran pollster Dan Jones, who predicted Matheson winning by a 3 percent to 5 percent margin, said a Democratic victory in the 2nd District was a remarkable achievement, considering Republican Gov. Gary Herbert and Senator-elect Mike Lee each won by more than 60 percent. "Mr, Philpot made a real run the last two weeks of the campaign, especially the last week," Jones said. "The Republicans were energized and got the people out."
Another race expected to be close opened up towards the end. Sim Gill defeated incumbent Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller by eight percentage points. But despite the fact that she lost by over 16,000 votes, Miller refused to concede and whined about the outcome. “He was just so negative this time around,” she said late Tuesday. “He falsely represented my record. He held up negative headlines and didn’t tell the positive stories behind them.”
My goodness, this lady is utterly clueless as to the effect of her arrogance. I have rarely seen a person with such an inflated sense of entitlement.
Gill, Salt Lake City’s top prosecutor, insisted Miller frittered away the public trust. His camp highlighted Miller’s wrongful termination of a longtime attorney, questionable hiring practices and poor prosecutorial moves, which Gill said harmed the office’s credibility.