Rogers and Mendenhall coast in Salt Lake City primaries; four emerge in two open council races

| Courtesy Erin Mendenhall Salt Lake City council member Erin Mendenhall has been named to the Utah Air Quality Board.

Primary election results for four Salt Lake City Council seats show that challengers to two incumbents have a lot of ground to make up, while two candidates in each open race appear to be locks for November’s general election.

In Tuesday night’s final unofficial tally — which excluded mail-in ballots received after Monday — Councilwoman Erin Mendenhall had received 75 percent of the vote in District 5, and James Rogers had 78 percent in District 1, though their challengers in the fall were far from decided.

Third-time candidate Phil Carroll (33 percent) and attorney Chris Wharton (32 percent) fairly evenly split about two-thirds of the vote in Salt Lake City’s open District 3 race, with Laura Cushman (20 percent) trailing Wharton by nearly 500 votes.

”There’s going to be more votes tallied, for sure, but I think it’s going to be Chris and myself,” Carroll said. ”I really respect the other candidates. Cushman worked incredibly hard and is a wonderful young woman.”

”It was because I was exhausted,” he said, after knocking on thousands of doors and raising more than twice as much money — nearly $30,000 — as any council candidate.

Public defender Amy Fowler captured 41 percent of the vote in a crowded District 7 field, while Abe Smith — the choice of outgoing Councilwoman Lisa Adams — was second with 23 percent. Ben Haynes, an experienced campaigner who had marshaled a bevy of volunteers, was third, at 11 percent.

Fowler said Smith is a “great guy,” but believes she benefits from having lived in the district for longer. Smith, who moved to the area two years ago, said he has yet to frame the differences between himself and Fowler.

In District 1, David Atkin narrowly led Arnold Jones, 12 percent to 10 percent, in the race for second place and a spot against Rogers in November.

Meanwhile, Noah Rosenberg (8 percent) had a razor-thin 10-vote edge over George Chapman (8 percent) in their bids to challenge Mendenhall. Carol Goode-Rogozinski had 6 percent of the vote.

City Council terms are four years. Adams and District 3 Councilman Stan Penfold decided against seeking re-election, while Andrew Johnston (District 2), Derek Kitchen (4) and Charlie Luke (6) are up for re-election in 2019.

Turnout in this year’s city primary had already far exceeded the final tally in 2013, even though the county had yet to count mail-in ballots received after Monday.

In District 3, 29 percent of more than 14,000 voters had cast ballots, compared to 12 percent in 2013. More than 20 percent of nearly 13,000 District 5’s registered voters had weighed in, up from 11.5 percent, and in District 7, it increased from 16 percent of nearly 14,000 voters to 22 percent.

District 1 turnout was at almost 18 percent of nearly 8,000 voters, roughly the same level as it was in 2013 after all the votes were counted.

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