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Voters can drop off their ballots at official designated Washington County drop boxes including the one in front of the Washington County building at 197 E Tabernacle St. Aug. 9, 2021.

After a tightly contested 2021 municipal election season, the finalized results for Washington County races have been made official.

The final results didn’t change the candidate positioning much from the initial election night results. In St. George, the final rankings matched the election-night results exactly.

The voter turnout rate for all of Washington County during this election was slighter higher than the 2019 election, according to the Washington County election supervisor Melanie Abplanalp. The turnout rate for all municipalities for this election was 42.41% and in 2019 that rate was 40.47%.

Abplanalp noted that the number is just an average and that turnout varied widely between different cities and towns. For example, in Apple Valley the turnout rate was 63.17%, while in Santa Clara it was 35.07%.

These elections were for the mayoral positions and two city council seats in each city, meaning the top two vote-getting candidates in the city council races won election.

The Ivins results were canvassed on Tuesday night, but the city hadn’t posted the final results as of Wednesday morning. The Spectrum will update this article with the results.

The winning candidates won’t have their new terms start officially until January.

St. George

St. George Mayor Michele Randall was elected to a four-year term during this month’s municipal elections.

Mayor

Michele Randall 11,614 votes (55.18%)

Jimmie Hughes 9,434 votes (44.82%)

City Council

Natalie Larsen 10,384 votes (26.56%)

Michelle Tanner 10,216 votes (26.13%)

Greg Aldred 9,500 votes (24.3%)

Vardell Curtis 8,992 votes (23%)

In Washington County’s largest city, St. George, the candidates maintained the same positions as on election night. Incumbent Mayor Michele Randall beat Jimmie Hughes, a sitting member of the city council.

The main issues for the election were brought up during the lone formal debate at Dixie State University, according to the director of DSU’s Institute of Politics, Vince Brown. The issues were: water, population growth, housing, mandates around COVID-19 and the Dixie State name change.

Even though the mayoral candidates agreed on most issues, such as having manageable growth, being for the Lake Powell Pipeline and against changing the name of Dixie State University. They differed on their points of emphasis on issues and Brown highlighted their differences on water.

“Randall had emphasized conservation, whereas Jimmie Hughes took more of the line of I don’t want to tell people what to do with their land,” Brown said.

St. George city council candidate Michelle Tanner

Brown said that when candidates agree on most topics, voters pay close attention to where what they emphasize in their campaigns, especially in southern Utah where the politics and residents are predominantly conservative and are more likely to agree on most topics.

Despite the loss in the mayoral election, Hughes will remain a fixture in St. George government since his city council term doesn’t end until 2024.

In the city council race, Natalie Larsen and Michelle Tanner were the top vote-getters.

Previous coverage: St. George mayoral candidates talk housing, water at debate

The final election results match up with the primary results for the mayoral election, with Randall being in first place by at least 10 points in both races. But the city council results were a shake-up from the primary election, since Larsen, who made it past the primary by just five votes, ended up with the most votes of any candidate in the general election. Curtis, meanwhile, an incumbent and the top vote-getter in the primary, finished last.

The switch surprised Brown, since incumbents usually have the advantage of name recognition.

“It’s always surprising to me when an incumbent loses,” he said. “That’s the nature of politics in America. Incumbents have an advantage.”

Curtis wasn’t an elected incumbent on the city council, having gained his seat through an appointment.

The four city council candidates did group themselves in two different camps that presented voters with different endorsements and points of emphasis, according to Brown.

Curtis and Larsen got endorsements from prominent St. George residents including the former Mayor Jon Pike and these two candidates focused more policy during the campaign. Aldred and Tanner focused more on cultural issues and received donations from the local Liberty Action Coalition, a far-right activist group.

Neither of those two sides saw both candidates elected, which Brown said was a “fascinating result” and likely due to voters considering candidates’ personalities and differentiating between candidates who used similar messaging.

“It’s not only policy voters,” Brown said, remarking that voters sometimes go with the person they’re most comfortable with and who seems to represent their worldview rather voting on specific issues.

This election was also the first time in St. George’s history that women swept the municipal election. These results are part of a trend in the 2021 Utah elections, which had multiple cities elect a woman to hold the office of mayor — St. George with Randall, Hurricane with Nannette Billings and Park City with Nann Worel.

These election cycle results are a “positive step forward” for the state, which has a reputation of gender inequality, especially in leadership positions, according to Brown.

Washington

Washington city mayoral candidate Kress Staheli

This race saw challenger Kress Staheli unseat the three-time incumbent, Kenneth Neilson. As a result of this race, Staheli will step down from his term on the city council and the remaining council members will need to appoint a replacement to fill the two years left on his term.

The replacement process will begin in January when Staheli formally becomes the mayor of Washington County’s second-most populous city.

Mayor

Kress Staheli 4,607 votes (66.72%)

Kenneth Neilson 2,298 votes (33.28%)

City Council

Bret Henderson 3,949 votes (31%)

Kimberly Casperson 3,218 votes (25.26%)

Marisa Thayn 3,140 votes (24.65%)

Roger Bundy 2,433 votes (19.1%)

Hurricane

This race for mayor was between two sitting Hurricane city council members, with incumbent Mayor John Bramall not running. Nanette Billings being able to pull out the narrow victory over Kevin Tervort, making her the first woman mayor of Hurricane.

This was a well funded race, with both candidates netting over $15,000 in contributions. Even with a loss, Tervort raised more than Billings with just under $23,000 in contributions while Billings had just under $16,000 in contributions.

Mayor

Nanette Billings 2,704 votes (52.66%)

Kevin Tervort 2,431 votes (47.34%)

City Council

David Hirschi 3,047 votes (32.02%)

Kevin Thomas 2,234 votes (23.47%)

V. Douglas Heideman 2,142 (22.51%)

Brian Hawkins 2,094 votes (22%)

La Verkin

Mayor (unopposed)

Kelly Wilson 617 votes (100%)

City Council

Blair Gubler 383 votes (29.26%)

Patricia Wise 357 votes (27.27%)

Ray Justice 298 votes (22.77%)

Richard Hirschi 271 votes (20.7%)

Santa Clara

Mayor (unopposed)

Rick Rosenburg 1,430 votes (100$)

City Council

Christa Hinton 1,272 votes (45.23%)

Ben Shakespeare 978 votes (34.78%)

Jimi Kestin 562 votes (19.99%)

Leeds

Mayor

Bill Hoster 269 voters (68.27%)

Kenneth Hadley 125 votes (31.73%)

City Council

Danielle Stirling 283 votes (40.9%)

Ron Cundick 226 votes (32.66%)

Cody Johnson 183 votes (26.45%)

Springdale

Mayor

Barbara Bruno 173 votes (57.1%)

Mark Chambers 130 votes (42.9%)

City Council

Jack Burns 175 votes (32.77%)

Randy Aton 163 votes (30.52%)

Write-in: Adrian Player 104 votes (19.48%)

Trish Rioux 92 votes (17.23%)

Rockville

Mayor

Pam Leach 121 votes (85.82%)

A. Jacob Andersen 20 votes (14.18%)

City Council

Jeff Ballard 128 votes (49.42%)

Dave Firmage 108 votes (41.7%)

Jan Fasselin 23 votes (8.88%)

Hildale

Mayor

Donia Jessop 131 votes (64.53%)

Jim Barlow 72 votes (35.47%)

City Council

Terrill Musser 148 votes (37.66%)

Brigham Holm 91 votes (23.16%)

Write-in: Darlene Stubbs 79 votes (20.1%)

Jared Nicol 44 votes (11.2%)

Derick Holm 31 votes (7.89%)

Toquerville

Mayor (unopposed)

Keen Ellsworth 402 votes (100%)

City Council

Justin Sip 309 votes (40.18%)

Gary Chaves 308 votes (40.05%)

Corey Turner 152 votes (19.77%)

Apple Valley

The town of Apple Valley in Washington County.

Apple valley had multiple city council elections with one determining what two candidates will get a regular four-year term. The other is a special election and the winner of that election will only serve a two-year council term.

Mayor

Dina Mason Walters 257 votes (72.8%)

Frank Lindhardt 63 votes (17.85%)

Write-in: William Beddo 25 votes (7.08%)

Write-in: Walter Josey 8 votes (2.27%)

City Council

Robin Whitmore 217 votes (33.54%)

Kevin Lee Sair 204 votes (31.53%)

Debbie Kopp 156 votes (24.11%)

Marty Lisonbee 70 votes (10.82%)

Special 2-year Council

Marshal “Andy” McGinnis 207 votes (63.5%)

Barratt Nielson 119 votes (36.5%)

Virgin

Mayor

Jean Krause 230 votes (52.03%)

Matt Spendlove 212 votes (47.97%)

Council Candidates – 4 year term 898

Paul Luwe 234 votes (26.05%)

Mistie Baird 228 votes (25.38%)

Lori Rose 222 votes (24.72%)

Kevin Stout 214 votes (23.83%)

Sean Hemmersmeier covers local government, growth and development in Southwestern Utah. Follow on Twitter @seanhemmers34. Our work depends on subscribers so if you want more coverage on these issues you can subscribe here: http://www.thespectrum.com/subscribe.

This article originally appeared on St. George Spectrum & Daily News: Final election results: Washington County mayoral, city council races