President Barack Obama wins a second term.
Utah GOP Gov. Gary Herbert, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, our two U.S. Republican Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, re-elected.
Republican Chris Stewart picks up the 2nd District.
The Republicans hold two-thirds majorities in the Utah House and Senate.
It appeared late Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning, that Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson beat the weekend polls and defeated his GOP challenger in the new 4th Congressional District Mia Love.
The final, but unofficial, tally gives Matheson 49.34 percent of the vote to Love’s 48.96 percent. It’s a win of just 2,818 votes out of more than 200,000 cast.
If Love had taken the 5,690 votes cast for Libertarian Party candidate Jim Vein she would have won.
If those numbers hold up after the required official canvas, it proves, again, to Utah Republicans that Matheson is just too tough to beat – even if he runs in a new congressional district.
And it is a crushing defeat for Love, who sought to be the first female African-American GOP U.S. House member in U.S. history.
Love got millions of dollars from national GOP groups and supporters. But it wasn’t enough.
A lot of Monday morning quarterbacks will say how poorly Love ran her race. But let’s give some credit to Matheson. He was written off as dead by many a poll and pundit (including this reporter).
But he showed his strength, once again, in getting moderate GOP votes.
In a very real way, Matheson now starts all over in solidifying his support with those who voted for him, and currying favor with those who didn’t – just as he had to rework his constituency following his 2002 very close re-election.
Over the next 10 years the Utah County portion of the 4th District will only grow – and Matheson lost that western part of Utah County more than 3-1 Tuesday.
But he won – that’s what matters to Utah Democrats -- and now goes back to a U.S. House still controlled by Republicans, just as the U.S. Senate is still controlled by Democrats.
In the newly-drawn 2nd District, Salt Lake City voters overwhelmingly supported Democrat Jay Seegmiller – so Utah’s capitol city is disenfranchised with Republican Stewart now representing the most liberal part of the state. How will Stewart listen and work with Salt Lakers?
Time will tell.
Utah Democrats held off what some believed would be a swamping by Republicans with Mitt Romney – a Mormon, hero of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics – at the top of the ticket.
In a way, Utah Democrats are right to be happy. But it’s kind of like the ancient Christians being glad at the outcome in the arena – only four of their five friends being eaten by lions.
State legislative elections saw a few upsets, but those were actually expected considering the Romney wave flowing over Utah this year.
You can find the state and federal races in Utah at the state Elections Office web here.
Salt Lake County election results are here.
Democratic state Sen. Ben McAdams, D-Salt Lake, wins the Salt Lake County mayor’s race, beating back Republican Mark Crockett. And long-time Councilmember Jim Bradley, a Democrat, wins the county-wide seat, as well. So, for all the fight in those races, county government stays the same – Democratic mayor, GOP-controlled County Council.
Watch for a huge, huge fight inside the Salt Lake County Democratic Party to see who gets appointed to the Senate District 2 seat that was McAdams’.
Including McAdams successor – who will be a Democrat -- in the end there will be five new faces in the 29-member Senate, with Democrats holding just five seats – their lowest numbers since the mid-1980s.
Two Salt Lake City Democratic Senate seats were combined into one in the 2011 redistricting.
And Tuesday night Democrats lost the seat of retiring Sen. Karen Morgan, D-Cottonwood Heights, who at one time was considering a run for her party’s gubernatorial nomination.
Two GOP House members move up to the Senate: Rep. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville, and Evan Vickers, R-Cedar City. Harper takes the seat of retiring Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, and Vickers defeated Sen. Casey Anderson, R-Cedar City, in an earlier GOP battle.
Besides Harper and Vickers, the new senators are Deirdre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork (in a newly-created seat), and Brian Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights, the first Asian-American in the Utah Senate.
Shiozawa easily beat Democrat Josie Valdez (wife of Rep. Mark Wheatley, D-Murray) in Morgan’s old Senate District 8.
The 75-member Utah House sees a larger-than-normal turn-over this election, partly because of redistricting, partly because several House members ran for higher offices and partly because of the Romney wave sweeping aside several Democratic incumbents.
Before the polls even closed Tuesday, there were 19 new faces in the House. The general election brought only two more – Craig Hall defeating Liz Muniz in House District 34.
And in a surprise loss, Rep. Christine Watkins, D-Price, lost to Republican Jerry B. Anderson.
So, 28 percent of the House will be new come the 2013 Legislature.
Salt Lake County Republicans thought they could take three or four Democratic seats away from south/southeastern county districts.
In the end they didn’t take any of them. Their only take-aways come in the former West Valley City seat of Rep. Neal Hendrickson – who was beaten by Liz Muniz for the Democratic nomination.
Muniz lost to Republican Craig Hall.
But county Republicans lost one, also – redistricting put Republican Rep. Fred Cox in with Democratic Rep. Janice Fisher, both from West Valley City. Fisher won Tuesday, Cox is out.
Democratic Reps. Larry Wiley, West Valley; Mark Wheatley, Murray; Patrice Arent, Holladay; Carol Spackman Moss, Holladay; Tim Cosgrove, Murray; and Marie Poulson, Cottonwood Heights; all won – although several just barely.
They were all targeted by Republicans and believed they could win a few.
So, it is 24-5 for Republicans in the Senate.
And it is 61-14 for the Republicans in the House.
For Democrats, it’s their lowest numbers in both legislative bodies since the mid-1980s.
For legislative Republicans, how to manage such huge caucuses in the House and Senate will be a challenge.
In part because of the large turnouts of more moderate Republicans at last March’s mass meetings, even though Republicans have greater numbers in the 2013-2014 Legislatures, they actually may be more moderate bodies.
Finally, you may say it is nuts to talk about 2014 and 2016 the morning after the 2012 vote.
But depending on how the Utah Republican Party and not-a-few interested groups respond to the 2012 elections, both nationally and locally, 2014 and 2016 could look very different.
If a group that label themselves as “mainstream conservatives” take on the challenge of putting a citizen initiative on the 2014 general election ballot that would provide a non-convention path to the Republican and Democratic primary ballots – and should voters agree with that idea in 2014 – the candidate field, especially for Republicans, could be exciting in 2016.
You could very well see a moderate Republican (although he or she may not like that title) run against Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, avoiding the caucus/convention route.
(Mike Leavitt’s name might come up there.)
And you could very well see a moderate Republican use the same alternative route to run for governor. (How about Hinckley Institute of Politics director Kirk Jowers?)
Leavitt, Jowers and any other number of so-called “mainstream conservatives” would have a tough time getting out of a state Republican Convention – especially without the $5 million of $6 million that Sen. Orrin Hatch had in 2012 to drive the state delegate process.
But if a “mainstream conservative” with great name I.D. and organizational skills, like a Leavitt, took an alternative primary ballot route, he could be a formidable challenger to either an ultra-conservative incumbent or right-wing convention GOP convention winner.
That’s why even after a huge election year like 2012, there is always more politics coming down the road.