2018 Utah candidate filing: Where are the Democrats?

Candidates have been filing for office across Utah since Friday. 

There are still three days to go until the filing period ends at 5 pm on Thursday, but there are some interesting storylines starting to develop, including a lot of seats that still don’t have a Democratic candidate. 

The U.S. Senate race is shaping up to be a crowded one.

Already 9 Republicans, 3 Democrats, and two third-party candidates have filed or have expressed interest in replacing Sen. Orrin Hatch in Washington. 


Misty Snow has bowed out of the race. The former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate filed last year to take on Republican Chris Stewart. She has since decided to end her campaign and endorsed fellow Democrat Shireen Ghorbani.


Rep. John Curtis has been holding his breath waiting for a serious challenger to take him on this year. So far, he has two Republican challengers who are not very well known. No Democrats have yet filed for this race.


There are 6 Democrats who have either filed or expressed interest in running against Rep. Mia Love. Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams is clearly the frontrunner, but there could be a fractured vote at the convention that could result in a primary race. 

Utah Senate

There are 15 seats up for election this year. While it’s still early, 7 of those seats have no Democrats who have filed for office yet, while Republicans have not yet fielded a candidate in 3 of them.

Seats without a Republican candidate:

  • SD2 – Open
  • SD4 – Jani Iwamoto is the incumbent
  • SD5 – Karen Mayne is the incumbent

Seats without a Democrat so far:

  • SD9 – Wayne Niederhauser is the incumbent
  • SD15 – Margaret Dayton is the incumbent
  • SD17 – Open seat
  • SD18 – Ann Millner is the incumbent
  • SD21 – Jerry Stevenson is the incumbent
  • SD22 – Stuart Adams is the incumbent
  • SD26 – Open seat
  • SD28 – Evan Vickers is the incumbent

The race to replace Sen. Jim Dabakis will be a crowded affair. So far, there are seven Democrats who have either filed or said they were running. No Republicans have jumped into the race.

Utah House

There are 75 seats up for election. While these numbers will likely change before Thursday’s deadline, they are fairly alarming for Utah’s minority party.

  • 43 seats have no Democratic candidate yet.
  • 12 seats have no Republican candidate as of yet.
  • 18 seats have both a Democrat and Republican.
  • 2 seats have no candidates right now

The United Utah Party leads the way among third parties in Utah, with 12 candidates who have either filed or intend to.

There are still three days left in the filing period, but the number of seats without a Democratic candidate seems like a lot.

There are some interesting storylines developing among candidates who have already filed to run for House seats.

  • Lisa Roskelley, the communications director for former Gov. Jon Huntsman, has filed for HD7, the seat that’s open due to Rep. Justin Fawson’s impending retirement. Roskelley also handled communications for Huntsman’s presidential campaign in 2012.
  • Rep. Lynn Hemingway, who missed nearly all of the 2018 session because his wife was suffering a serious illness, intends to run for another term. However, he has already drawn a challenger for the Democratic nomination.
  • Michelle Weeks, who came up short in her race for Draper mayor in 2017, has filed to run for the seat being vacated by House Speaker Greg Hughes under the United Utah Party banner. Weeks previously ran for the Utah Senate in 2014 as a Democrat, losing to Howard Stephenson.