PROVO A write-in candidate apparently was the spoiler who helped unseat one member of the Provo City Council on Tuesday night, while two races were too close to call as election results came in slowly.
The struggle between incumbent citywide council member Steve Turley and recently retired Provo Fire Chief Coy Porter was neck and neck with 45 of 49 precincts reporting. Turley held a slight edge, 51 percent to 48, at press time.
The race between incumbent Cynthia Dayton and challenger Mark Sumsion in northeast District 1 was plagued by slow results. Dayton held a 56 percent to 44 percent lead at press time, with votes counted in seven of nine precincts.
Sherrie Hall Everett apparently unseated Barbara Sandstrom by a slim margin, 45 percent to 40, in District 4, though it was unclear at press time whether all votes had been counted. Write-in candidate Howard Stone landed 15 percent of the vote in city's northwest district. Stone lives near Sandstrom in the Grandview neighborhood, and Sandstrom said he might have cost her a third term.
"I feel I had my vote very diluted with the write-in," she said, "though it still could have turned out the same way."
She expressed frustration over Stone's strong showing but embraced Everett, who helped run her last campaign, and celebrated a clean campaign.
"It's been a wonderful eight years for me," she said.
Everett planned to draw on Sandstrom's expertise but said she ran to make sure the west side, including the Grandview neighborhood, was prepared for explosive growth expected west of Geneva Road.
"I feel a little bit of sadness for her because I know her heart is in doing what's best for Provo," Everett said. "This was never about running against Barbara, it was about making sure the west side had strong representation on the council."
In District 3, Midge Johnson won a second term representing south Provo. Johnson repeated her 2003 victory over Melanie McCoard, this time winning 57 percent to 43. It was McCoard's third attempt to win a seat on the council; she narrowly lost to Mark Hathaway in 1999.
"The bottom line is Midge is a whole lot nicer than I am," McCoard said. "People in Provo like nice. I'm edgy, I'm tough."
She doesn't anticipate running a fourth time but promised to remain active and seek at least four amendments to Provo ordinances, mostly in zoning regulations.
Johnson earned the ire of Provo City Council Chairman George Stewart, who gave money to McCoard. Now Johnson and Stewart are back on the council together for at least two more years. Johnson hopes they'll still be able to work together effectively.
"I don't hold any grudge," Johnson said. "I don't have any feelings of ill will toward anyone. I'm happy to serve another four years. The first thing to do is mend fences on the council and make it a more cohesive group to bring us back to where we need to be."
More than 30 percent of registered Provo voters turned out.
Sandstrom beat incumbent David Rail in 1999 and foiled Sheri Holweg's 2003 bid to return to the council.
Sumsion's challenge of Dayton in northeast Provo was his second attempt to win a seat on the council. He lost to Stewart in the 2005 race for the other citywide seat on the council, 54 percent to 46. He raised three times more money than Dayton but a week before the election had only outspent her by a small margin.
Turley had also raised nearly three times more money than Porter, who had endorsements from Mayor Lewis Billings, Stewart and council member Cindy Richards.
Porter retired as fire chief in June. Turley unseated Stan Lockhart in 2003.Dayton won her seat in 2003 by unseating Hathaway.
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