Races Worth Watching on Election Day

Republicans won’t lose their supermajority status on Utah’s Capitol Hill following Tuesday’s elections. But there are a few legislative races worth a little extra attention as the election returns come in.

If Democrats could pick off a few of these races, it would help them make major strides toward relevancy on the Hill. But, there’s at least one race where Republicans hope to knock off a veteran Democratic legislator.

Senate 11 – This race is a little off the radar, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Democrat Michele Weeks has spent more than $56,000 in an effort to oust incumbent Republican Howard Stephenson. Stephenson has only spent $24,000 on his re-election bid.

Senate 12 – Freshman Republican Daniel Thatcher ousted veteran Democrat Brent Goodfellow in 2010, and Democrats desperately want this seat back. Democratic candidate Claire Collard has spent more than $48,000 so far to Thatcher’s $17,000. If Dems can win back this west-side seat, they may be on the way to righting the ship.

House 9 – This could be a sleeper race as Democrat Steve Olsen is trying to unseat Republican incumbent Jeremy Peterson. Olsen has outspent Peterson by more than 2-1 during this campaign.

House 30 – Democrat Mike Lee and Republican Fred Cox are fighting to replace retiring Rep. Janice Fisher. Lee has outspent Cox 4-1 so far in the race.

House 31 – Democrat Larry Wiley won this seat by less than 100 votes two years ago. Republican Sophia DiCaro is running hard and giving Wiley all he can handle in this contest. Both sides are raising and spending freely. This west-side seat is crucial for Democrats to hang on to.

House 33 – Republican Craig Hall won a close race against Democrat Liz Muniz in 2012. This year’s rematch is not expected to be as close this time around as Hall won a number of union endorsements.

House 43 – Democrat Diane Lewis is making this a surprisingly close contest against incumbent Earl Tanner. She’s outraising and outspending Tanner by a large margin, and getting tons of help from labor unions. Tanner could be in real trouble here.

House 44 – Republican Bruce Cutler and Democrat Christine Passey are in a close race to replace retiring Democrat Tim Cosgrove. Insiders from both parties expect this one to go down to the wire.

House 49 – Robert Spendlove, the Republican, is running for his first full term after replacing Derek Brown who resigned to take a position with Sen. Mike Lee. He’s getting a real challenge from Democrat Zach Robinson.

House 69 – Democrat Brad King is attempting to return to Utah’s Capitol Hill after losing his bid for State Senate in 2008. He is facing Republican Bill Labrum who ousted Republican Jerry Anderson at the GOP convention. This would be a big pickup for Democrats because it means they would have a seat outside of Salt Lake County.