Preliminary results are in and tallies show Mitt Romney clinching the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.
Romney easily defeated conservative state lawmaker Mike Kennedy with roughly 72 percent of the vote to Kennedy’s 28 percent.
Romney thanked supporters at his election party in Orem shortly after The Associated Press called the race. The former GOP presidential nominee said he looked forward to debating his Democratic opponent, Salt Lake County Councilwoman Jenny Wilson, ahead of the general election in November.
Romney also thanked longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch, who will retire this year at the end of his seventh term in Congress.
Overall, Tuesday night’s results indicate that Utah Republicans continue to gravitate toward more moderate candidates who don’t align as closely with President Trump.
3RD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
Congressman John Curtis beat state lawmaker Chris Herrod for the second time in less than a year for the Republican nomination for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District.
Herrod called to concede shortly after early results were posted, showing Curtis with a commanding lead of 75 percent over Herrod’s 25 percent.
Curtis is running for his first full term in Congress after winning the special election last year to fill the seat of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who resigned to take a job at Fox News.
The former Provo mayor will next face Democrat James Singer in the general election.
1ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
In Utah’s 1st Congressional District Democratic primary, Layton social worker Lee Castillo held a comfortable lead over Bountiful business owner Kurt Weiland, 57-43 percent.
The winner of that contest will challenge seven-term incumbent Republican Congressman Rob Bishop in November.
Whichever candidate wins will face an uphill battle in the 1st District, which has a R+26 rating from the Cook Partisan Voter Index, a measure of how strongly a district leans Republican or Democrat. The district ranks as the 14th most Republican-leaning area in the country, while Utah’s 3rd District ranks 16th.
Salt Lake’s Senate District 2 Democratic primary remained close after early results. Salt Lake City Councilman Derek Kitchen held a slight lead over pediatric doctor and community activist Jennifer Plumb, 53 percent to 47 percent. Both are running to replace outgoing Sen. Jim Dabakis.
The four-way race for the blue-leaning House District 24 is also tight. Democrat Jen Dailey-Provost leads with more than 35 percent followed by Igor Lamansky with 33 percent, Jacquelyn Orton with 18 percent, and Darin Mann with 13 percent. The winner is favored for the House race to replace incumbent state Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, who’s retiring the seat after 10 years.
In Davis County’s House District 17, moderate Republican Rep. Raymond Ward held off a challenge from conservative Phill Wright, the former Davis County GOP chair.
In Senate District 8, Republican Sen. Brian Zehnder held off a challenge from Jaren Davis. Zehnder was tapped to fill-in last year for former Sen. Brian Shiozawa, who moved out of state. Zehnder will now face Democrat Kathleen Riebe and the United Utah Party’s John Jackson in November. The seat is considered a possible swing district.
You can see more preliminary results by going to Utah’s elections site.