Republican sweep in local general election
by Bill Boyle
San Juan Record Editor
It appears to be a Republican sweep in the 2022 General election in San Juan County.
There are still nearly 300 votes to be counted in the tedious process of collecting ballots, verifying signatures, and checking provisional ballots. However, it is very unlikely that the remaining votes could turn the tide in any of the races.
In a stunning reversal, incumbent Democratic Commissioners Kenneth Maryboy and Willie Grayeyes were apparently defeated by Republican challengers on November 8.
In addition, Republican candidates won the Clerk, Sheriff and Attorney races.
As a result, for the first time in decades, the San Juan County Commission will have a 3-0 Republican majority.
The early trends from election day results continued as 800 new ballots were counted on November 9.
In the closest race for the San Juan County Commission District #2, Republican Silvia Stubbs maintained an 88-vote lead when the new votes were added on November 9. Stubbs totals 784 votes (53%), with 696 for incumbent Democrat Willie Grayeyes.
In the race for the San Juan County Commission District #3, Republican Jamie Harvey has a 434-vote lead with 1,219 votes (61%), with 785 for incumbent Democrat Kenneth Maryboy.
For San Juan County Sheriff, Republican Lehi Lacy totals 3,002 (56%) votes, with Democrat Al Whitehorse totaling 2,391 (44%).
For San Juan County Clerk, Republican incumbent Lyman Duncan has 3,082 votes (58%), leading his challenger, Democrat Garrett Holly, with 2,238 (42%).
For San Juan County Attorney, Brittany Ivins was elected with 972 write-in votes. There was no name on the ballot after Alex Goble withdrew his candidacy to accept a judicial appointment in Richfield, UT.
For the San Juan School Board District #3 position, Colleen Benally leads Sheila Knight 576 (55%) to 471 (45%).
Incumbent Nelson Yellowman secured 732 votes for the San Juan School Board District #5 position. He was the only name on the ballot but may not serve after it was discovered that Board member Merry Shumway also lives in the district boundaries. Shumway still has two years remaining on her school board term and will represent the district for the remainder of her term.
In addition to that situation, the new voting district boundaries may have added some unexpected complexities to the election.
Earlier this year, the Commission reset the voting boundaries for the Commission and School Board districts.
The commission boundaries adopted were reccomended by a hired redistricting consultant. The school board boundaries adopted were submitted by the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission.
The new school boundaries tweaked the edges of the prior districts and put existing board members in the districts of incumbents Lucille Cody and Nelson Yellowman. As a result, it appears as if neither candidate was able to run for reelection.
In addition, the Commission districts were carefully redrawn in an effort to ensure that all three districts are of equal size. However, while the number of residents may be equal in each district, there is a significant difference in the number of registered voters in each district.
The San Juan County Clerks Office, which administers the election, reports that there are 2,857 registered voters in District #1 (31.6% of the total), 2,763 voters in District #2 (30.6%), and 3,410 voters in District #3 (37.8%).
There was 54% voter participation in the race for District 2 and 60% participation in the race for District 3. When it all trickles down, there were 535 more votes cast in the race for District #3 than in the race for District #2.
In other races on the November 8 general election ballot, Phil Lyman returns for another term in the Utah House of Representatives as the incumbent Republican defeated Democratic challenger Davina Smith. Lyman totaled 10,883 votes in the district, easily outdistancing the 7,380 votes for Smith.
The race was closer in San Juan County, the home of both candidates. Lyman secured 2,831 votes in San Juan County, compared to 2,581 for Smith.
While Smith won the race in Grand County, Lyman won by large margins in the other counties in the sprawling district, including Kane, Garfield, Wayne, and Emery counties.
In Congress, Republican incumbent Mike Lee earned another term in the Senate with a victory over challenger Evan McMullin. Lee defeated McMullin in San Juan County and across the state.
San Juan County resident James Arthur Hansen earned 27,883 votes as the Libertarian Party candidate for the office.
John Curtis earned another term in the House of Representatives as he defeated Democrat challenger Glenn Wright.
Don Torgerson, George Harmond, and Lyon Hazelton were all on the positive side of their judicial retention races.
On the Navajo Nation, Buu Nygren is the new Navajo Nation President. Nygren, who was born in Blanding and lives in Red Mesa, defeated incumbent Jonathan Nez 53% to 47%.
Utah Navajo voted in three races for the Navajo Nation Council.
Prelminiary results show Curtis Yanito (58.6%) defeated Davis Filfred (41.3%) in the race to represent Mexican Water, Red Mesa, TeecNosPos, and Aneth.
Incumbent Herman M. Daniels Jr (53.8%) defeated Henry “Hank” Stevens (46.2%) to represent Naa’tsis’aán and Oljato.
Shaandiin Parrish (52.5%) defeated incumbent Nathaniel Brown (47.5%) to represent Dennehotso.