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Politics in Carbon County: They may be a changin'

Carbon County clerk Bob Pero works with others to electronically count votes from voting machines on election night 2008.

For the first time in any ones memory, the western part of Carbon county will be represented at the state capitol in the 2009 legislative session by two Republicans.

And that was not the only surprise to come out of the November election this year.

Analysis of the voting in the 23 voting districts in Carbon County as released by the Carbon County Clerk's office reveals some interesting voting patterns in the district in the major contests of the November balloting.

In the presidential race Senator John McCain carried Carbon County by a 592 margin over the Barack Obama. McCain carried the following precincts: East County, Fairgrounds, Castle Heights, Northeast Price, Wellington South and North, South County, Spring Glen, Carbonville, Westwood and Miller Creek.

During voting in local races, Brad King won every precinct in the county overwhelmingly with the exception of East County where David Hinkins garnered 209 votes and King had 205. In the final tally however, Republican Hinkins won the senate seat vacated by Mike Dmitrich (senate district 29) through votes from Emery and Utah Counties.

In the county commission races John Jones won the support of every precinct but Castle Heights, Westwood, Castle Heights North and Northeast Price to continue as a commissioner after his appointment last summer to succeed Steven Burge when the latter resigned.

In the other commission race involving incumbent Michael Milovich and Jae Potter, Milovich was reelected by a 304 vote margin. The incumbent won the following precincts on his way to victory: Spring Glen, Carbonville, East Carbon North and South, Fairgrounds, Central Price, East and West Helper. Indian Hills, East Price, South Price, Wellington North and Sunnyside. Voters in Scofield split their 32 votes, 16 for Milovich and 16 for Potter.

In the race for Utah House of Representative District 69 Christine Watkins won quite handily, winning all precincts that cover part of the county over Jerry B. Anderson. Watkins won with 65 percent of the votes and succeeds Brad King in the office for representative from house district 69.

U.S. Representative Jim Matheson won all county precincts in out polling opponent Bill Dew with 79 percent of the vote. He was reelected to Congress in Utah Congressional District two.

Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. also won all Carbon precincts with 65 percent of the county votes to add to his reelection total in the governor's race

A surprise to many in the local voting was the lack of support for the candidacy of Democrat Jean Welch Hill in her race with Mark Shurtleff for state attorney general. Hill, the daughter of Price native Dominic Welch, the former publisher of the Salt Lake Tribune, and Jeanette Vigor Welch, a Helper native, received 40 percent of the local vote in losing to the incumbent in Carbon and the state wide race as well.

Almost all voting totals in Carbon county were once considered solidly Democratic, but in the last few elections that seems to be changing some. In 2004 John Kerry was defeated in the county by George W. Bush for president. This year a closer race than expected for county commissioner between Milovich and Potter, along with the loss by Welch with close ties to the area could signal a change in the voting patterns in the county.

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