Hinkins topples Democrat's bid for Utah Senate seat
While the Democrats won the presidential election and several key national races, the party lost momentum at the state level on Nov. 4.
At the 2008 election polls, Republican David Hinkins beat out Democrat Brad King for the spot in the Utah Senate occupied by Mike Dmitrich for almost three decades.
King, a Carbon County native and longtime Utah House representative, lost to Hinkins by 16,805 to 13,393 votes in a race that, to many people, meant the end of an era.
Literally no one in the local area can remember the last time a Republican represented Carbon County in the Utah Senate.
"I can't remember a time when Helper was represented at the state by two Republicans," said longtime resident Walt Borla. "In fact, the only Republican to win in the county when I was growing up was a county sheriff who would win in every election."
In Carbon County, King captured 4,758 votes to Hinkins' 2,535 ballots.
But Emery County residents voted for their hometown candidate by a margin of more than two to one.
The Utah County precincts in the district finished the deal with overwhelming support for Hinkins by 7,835 to 2,538 ballots.
For about one-third of the residents of Carbon County, Hinkins' win means they will not have a Democrat representative in state government for the first time in memory.
Republican Patrick Painter of Utah House of Representatives District 67 was also re-elected in a landslide 9,820 to 1,812 vote over Constitutional Party candidate Feleni Siufanua.
In the race for the Utah House District 69 seat vacated by King to run for the Senate, Christine Watkins beat out Jerry Anderson by 5,976 to 4,330 ballots.
In a close race at the county level, Commissioner Mike Milovich defeated Republican challenger Jae Potter by a vote of 3,838 to 3,539.
Potter, a Price businessman, came closer to defeating a Democratic incumbent county commissioner than any challenger has in a long time.
In the other county race, Democrat John Jones won the commissioner-surveyor's seat, capturing 4,318 votes compared to the 3,018 ballots cast for Gerald Lloyd.
Jones had been appointed to fill the vacancy created by Steve Burge's resignation.
In the only contested Carbon County Board of Education race, Debi Blackburn warded off challender Maurine Tanner by 909 to 528 to hold onto her position.
Neither Barry Deeter, an incumbent from Helper, nor Jeff Richens, who was running for the board for the first time, faced opposition.
In national races in the area, Congressman Jim Matheson soundly defeated Bill Dew 204,268 to 111,696 for the seat in the second congressional district.
In Carbon County, voters gave Matheson a big boost by going for him 5857 to 1398 over Dew.
Carbon voters, however, did not go as a majority for president elect Barack Obama.
The county gave Obama 3,368 votes while providing John McCain with 3,960.
Carbon followed the lead of the rest of the state, which went for McCain 555,497 to 301,771.
In the governor's race, the county supported incumbent Jon Huntsman with 4,781 ballots and cast 2,345 votes for Democrat Bob Springmeyer. Huntsman won statewide 682,409 to 172,646.
In the state attorney general's race, Mark Shurtleff won 4,042 votes in Carbon County and Jean Welch Hill received 2,955.
Shurtleff also won the state vote by a large percentage.