A B-movie script writer might have dubbed it "Night of the Living Incumbents" in the Salt Lake Board of Education race.
Indeed, most incumbents did survive the night. But, like other primary election races, it didn't come on a day of high voter interest, despite the fact that interest in the four school board seats was originally intense, largely because of the controversial new high school boundaries.
The largest number of school board votes was cast in Precinct 7, the southeastern section of the city. But the total still amounted to slightly less than 2,000 votes.
The two incumbents, board President F. Keith Stepan and Vice President Stephen G. Boyden, will sail into the general election with commanding vote tallies. Stepan received 51 percent of the vote, despite the fact that he had four challengers in Precinct 1, which roughly covers northwest Salt Lake City.
He easily outdistanced former school board member Tab Lynn Uno, whom he will face in the general election. Uno campaigned heavily, picking up 26 percent of the vote. Uno said he believes low voter turnout helped the incumbent.
Stepan, a self-employed architect, led the school board through its troubled times during the closing of the South High and the redrawing of the high school boundaries. He voted with the board majority on the equity issue, saying it is vital to offer every student essential educational opportunities.
Of his three challengers who failed to emerge from the primary, Davis School District teacher Michael Nemelka finished third, followed by Tonya Covington and Jann Harden-Warner.
Of the 15 candidates seeking the four school board seats, Covington was the only one to publicly support the tax initiatives. She received 4 percent of the vote.
Boyden has been a vocal spokesman for the board's minority, opposing what he called the "radical changes in high school boundaries" and supporting eastside parents who believe they were hurt by the boundary decision. Boyden's 61 percent of the vote in Precinct 5, which covers a central eastside section of the city, seems to indicate that Boyden's constituency approves of his action.
His opponent will be Salt Lake businessman Michael T. Walton, who squeaked by attorney Orson B. West Jr. by only 24 votes to nab a spot on the general election ballot.
The importance of being listed first on the ballot was clearly evident in the outcome in Precinct 3, the South High area where incumbent Colleen Minson did not seek re-election.
Cynthia Martin unofficially withdrew from the race in early September, but it was too late to have her name removed from the first slot on the ballot. She came in second, receiving 31 percent of the vote.
Because of her withdrawal, first-place finisher Steven L. Olsen, manager of collections and research at the Museum of Church History and Art of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and third-place finisher Glenda Gaudig, a homemaker, will face off in November.
In Precinct 7, which covers southeast Salt Lake City, attorney Alan Mecham and former Salt Lake teacher David O. Donohoo will get the chance to battle for the seat held by incumbent Carolyn Kump, who is stepping aside.
In the weeks before the election, the precinct had been literally plastered with green Donohoo signs and "Mecham will listen" placards. C. Guy Walker trailed in third place with 13 percent of the vote. In fourth place, Bruce Barrett received 116 votes, but his candidacy really ended in late summer when he moved from the precinct, disqualifying him automatically.