Two incumbent legislators were sent packing Tuesday, as voters picked new blood to represent them at the Utah State Legislature.
Newcomer Ryan Wilcox ousted Rep. Glenn Donnelson, R-North Ogden, a four-term legislator who pushed several anti-immigration bills in his tenure.
And in a close race, homemaker Becky Edwards defeated first-term Rep. Paul Neuenschwander, R-Bountiful.
"I'm upset," Neuenschwander said late Tuesday. "All I can do is say thank you to (my constituents)."
Edwards got off a plane in California Tuesday night and didn't know the results of her race until her son checked them on his phone. Before she boarded, just 14 votes registered on the Salt Lake County clerk's Web site, so Edwards had a long flight.
"I thought, all right, when we get off the plane I guess we'll know," Edwards said. "I'm just really, really pleased, clearly, to be in this situation."
Now Edwards will take a break from campaigning to vacation with her in-laws. But as soon as she gets back, she'll be hard at work in her campaign against Democrat Kyle Roberts and Constitution candidate Robert Moultrie.
Donnelson lost to Wilcox by a 22 percent margin. Although Donnelson was the go-to guy for anti-immigration bills in the House the past few years, Wilcox said he doesn't believe that Donnelson's stand on immigration made the difference in this race. Instead, he attributed his victory to "a lot of shoe leather and volunteers helping and little things," like handing out snow cones on a hot Saturday. Democrat Rob Reynolds awaits Wilcox in the November general election.
"I hope it's not all just an anti-Donnelson vote," said Wilcox, who was quick to show his appreciation for his opponent's eight years of service. "I hope to be able to build upon the good that he's done."
Attempts to reach Donnelson were unsuccessful Tuesday.
In other legislative races, Dan Liljenquist trounced Ron Mortensen for the Republican nomination in outgoing Sen. Dan Eastman's open seat in Bountiful's District 23. Liljenquist will face Democrat Richard Watson and Constitution candidate Jorgina Hancock in November.
The other open seat this one in the House was a much tighter race.
Kraig Powell defeated David Labrum by 132 votes in District 54. That seat was vacated with Rep. Gordon Snow's retirement. Powell now must set his sights on Democrat Neil Anderton for the November election.
E-mail: [email protected]