2022 election results could shift Salt Lake County from purple to red
As Election Day approaches, we'll be providing rundowns of the most-watched races and issues.
- We'll look at Congressional elections soon, so put those out of your mind, and peek into your own backyard.
Driving the news: This election could signal a conservative shift in Salt Lake County, with several Republican candidates leaning relatively far right in a historically purple county.
- President Joe Biden defeated former President Trump by nearly 11 points in the county in 2020.
- But the county council is 6-3 in favor of Republicans and could skew further right if they hold their seats.
State of play: Multiple Republican candidates are trying to distance themselves from far-right statements and connections with Nov. 8 approaching.
- Goud Maragani, a county clerk candidate who has advanced false claims of election fraud in 2020, is now saying he no longer believes the election was "stolen."
- State school board candidate Christina Boggess stressed in a recent debate that she wasn't endorsed by the right-wing Utah Parents United, a group she has worked with previously.
- District Attorney candidate Danielle Ahn recently told The Salt Lake Tribune, "I'm not here to defend the Federalist Society" after criticism that she was recently the president of a local student chapter.
The other side: Democrats are highlighting those ties, describing candidates as introducing "extremism" to a relatively centrist county.
Yes, but: It's unclear whether there actually are a lot of centrist voters here.
- 2020 election maps show an even but sharp geographic divide, with Republican voters clustered in the south and Democrats in the north.
Zoom in: In many of the county's highest-turnout precincts — the foothills down to 1300 East and most of the southwest neighborhoods — the favored presidential candidate won by double-digits, while results tended to be closer in lower-turnout precincts.
- Political segregation goes hand-in-hand with polarization, as like-minded communities effectively create echo chambers, Princeton researchers found.
The bottom line: If Salt Lake's likeliest voters are already as polarized as the maps suggest, extremism by candidates (or allegations of it) may not affect their votes very much in either direction.
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