Oct 19, 2022 - News

2022 election results could shift Salt Lake County from purple to red

A map shows Trump and Biden win margins by precinct in Salt Lake County in 2020. Biden won the north part of the county, while Trump won the south.

A precinct-by-precinct breakdown of Biden and Trump margins in 2020 in Salt Lake County shows a sharp divide from northeast to southwest. Source: Utah Geospatial Resource Center

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.

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.

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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