I waited a long time between articles after I last predicted a Jon Pike win in the race for St. George Mayor (SEE OTHER ARTICLE). I ended up waiting too long and was too unsure of the outcome of the St. George City Council race, so I ended up not writing any prediction prior to the final vote. This is my first post-election report since the election, as I felt I needed a moment to gather my thoughts. Since today marks the release of the final vote tallies, I think it’s about time I followed up on all my pre-election coverage.
First, I’d like to tip my hat to all of the candidates, including our outgoing mayor Dan Mcarthur. This was a hard-fought election cycle for both he and Jon Pike, our newly elected mayor. When Pike is sworn in at high noon on Jan. 6, a new age will dawn for St. George. It seems the overwhelming majority of St. George was ready for a new mayor, and even beyond that, analysis of the vote total points to a trend I expected: Jon Pike not only brought out his supporters but he also took support away from McArthur, with a final vote tally of 8,409 votes, or 61.09 percent of the vote, for Jon Pike and just 5,314 votes for Dan McArthur. McArthur had over 5,600 votes four years ago in his race against Ed Baca, who we will talk about a bit later. Four years before that, McArthur had garnered just over 6,000 votes, so with a larger voting population McArthur actually drew fewer voters in 2009 versus 2005, and again the trend continued as he ended up with 300 fewer votes this year than in 2009. Also drawing on a much larger voting base than four years ago, McArthur lost support as Pike beat him by a final count of 3,095 votes.
In the race for St. George City Council there were just a few surprises.
Top vote-getter Michele Randall garnered a healthy 7,973 votes in the final tally, beating the next highest candidate, Joe Bowcutt, by 2,080 votes — a pretty clear victory and in line with her performance in the primary. Randall had weathered some bad press in the final weeks of the election, based on Facebook posts and statements by Senator Steve Urqhart. The statments seemingly galvanized her support rather than hurting her ability to woo voters. Joe Bowcutt’s finish with 5,893 votes was surprising to some, but I had him overtaking Ed Baca in my analysis, which he did to clench the second council seat.
Tara Dunn and Ed Baca were at just an eight-vote differential on election night, with Dunn eking out a slight gain over Baca at 5,319 votes to 5,311. In the final tally, Dunn widened that lead to clench third with 5,608 votes to Baca’s 5,579 — a 29-vote differential but still statistically about the same results as the election night percentages of Dunn’s 22.2 percent to Baca’s 22.17 percent. That put Dunn just 288 votes behind Bowcutt, 38 votes closer than the 326 vote gap in the initial count on election night. The final percentages were Randall 31.74 percent, Bowcutt 23.46 percent, Tara Dunn 22.33 percent, and Ed Baca dropped two spots from his second-place finish in the primary to finish fourth with 22.21 percent.
One of the most interesting parts of this particular election is that Jon Pike’s mayoral win opens up his seat on the St. George City Council, which the new council alone will appoint. I was told by Jon Pike himself that he does not get a vote and that the council has to reach a majority (or unanimous) decision among themselves. This presents a very interesting scenario if either Dunn or Baca decide to officially put their hats in the ring … something they have both said they plan to do. Not only that, but both Dunn and Baca have each made recent public, post-election statements in support of the appointment of the other, quashing the argument that the appointment of either would unfairly discriminate against the other’s supporters. Statistically, if you were to combine Dunn and Baca’s supporters you would have a majority of the voter support. So a good argument could be made that the appointment of either of them is an acknowledgment of the will of the people.
Will the new council appoint Baca or Dunn? Will they choose one of the “also rans” who campaigned in the primary election but were eliminated on primary election day? Will they ignore what many people think to be “the right thing to do” by appointing someone who was willing to not only run but who had enough support to make it through two or more primary elections, which both Baca and Dunn have done? Only time will tell. That decision by the new council should reflect the will of the people.
Randall and Bowcutt are not officially sworn in until Jan. 6, but I’m sure Jimmie Hughes and Gil Almquist have had some interesting conversations. Stay tuned…
A total of 13,891 people had their votes counted, which represents 37.93% of the registered voters, the highest turnout since 2007, when we say about 44%, due to the school voucher issue. A total of 35 voters votes were not counted due to a variety of reason including not being registered, 3 had an incomplete registration form, 7 had no proof of residency, 11 had no ID and 2 were not actual St. George residents (Winchester Hills).