Voters ousted the incumbent Republican Davis County commissioner and clerk by almost identical margins in Tuesday's primary, with their challengers each picking up 52 percent of the vote.
Challenger William "Dub" Lawrence, Centerville, defeated incumbent Harold Tippetts, Farmington, for the GOP nomination for county commission, and political newcomer Margene Isom, Layton, defeated Glen Saunders for the clerk's nomination.Isom picked up the most votes of the candidates, 7,194, to 6,552 for Saunders. Lawrence tallied 7,140 to 6,634 for Tippetts.
The GOP race for commission took a nasty turn in the last three weeks, with Lawrence challenging commissioners' actions on taxes, fiscal responsibility, land purchases and the decision to build a new county jail and municipal complex. Part of the battle was fueled by an ongoing feud between the commission and County Auditor Ruth Kennington.
Tippetts and the other commissioners said the attacks were personal, smearing their character and reputation.
After the final votes were tallied about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Lawrence said although he'd won the right to represent the Republican Party - a party he just recently embraced after serving as a Democratic sheriff in Davis County 1974-78 - the real race is just beginning.
Lawrence faces Democrat Golden Sill, a former Layton city councilman and mayor, in the Nov. 8 general election. "The real race is in November. That's the one that counts," Lawrence said.
Isom said she is "excited and gratified" that the voters in Davis County showed faith in her candidacy. This is Isom's first venture into the political arena.
Her race against Saunders, in contrast to the commission battle, was low-key, with the candidates steering clear of personal comments. Saunders shook Isom's hand after the final district reported in, promising his support in her campaign and to help in an easy transition into the clerk's job in January.
Nearly 14,000 of the county's 70,000 registered voters, or 20 percent, cast ballots Tuesday - a number election officials said is higher than their predictions, especially because there were no Democratic Party contests.