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The City Journals

Local Murray races in play during a contentious election year

Sep 30, 2020 02:06PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Ballot drop boxes are located on the north side of Murray City Hall. (Shaun Delliskave/City Journals)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

After a record number of ballots were cast in Utah’s primary election, Murray voters will head to the polls once again to decide local races in the Nov. 3 general election. Murray voters will have the option to avoid polling places during the COVID-19 pandemic and, instead, either submit their ballot via the US Postal Service or drop boxes located throughout Salt Lake County.

According to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s website, “The Legislature has determined we will be able to offer in-person voting for the General Election at locations throughout the county. However, because of COVID-19, we are encouraging voters to vote by mail.”

Aside from national races, such as for president and US House of Representatives, Murray residents will be electing members to the Utah State House, county government, and local school districts.

Those running for Salt Lake County Mayor include incumbent Jenny Wilson (D), Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs (R), and Green Party candidate Michael Cundick. Salt Lake County Democratic Central Committee members selected Wilson to serve the remainder of Ben McAdams’ mayoral term. He won election to Congress in the 2018 midterms and resigned as county mayor to assume his congressional seat. Staggs has served as Riverton’s mayor since 2017. Cundick lists his profession as a student loan consultant.

At-large county council incumbent Shireen Ghorbani (D) is facing a challenge from Laurie Stringham (R). Ghorbani filled Mayor Wilson’s seat on the council in a special election in 2018. Stringham describes herself as a business owner and educator. Eastside Murray residents in Salt Lake County Council District 3 will see Ann Granato (D) run opposed for a second term. 

The Salt Lake County Assessor’s Office will have a new person at the helm after voters choose between two employees of the assessor’s office: Residential Division Director Chris Stavros (R) and Certified General Appraiser Jennifer Fesques (D). Murray voters will also select between Erin Preston (R) and Rashelle Hobbs (D) for County Recorder. Wayne Cushing (R) is vying for another term against Michael McDonald (D) for County Treasurer, while County Surveyor Reid Demman (R) is unopposed.

A rematch is in store for eastside Murrayites; Kathleen Riebe (D) is defending her Senate District 8 seat against past officeholder Brian Zehnder (R). Zehnder was appointed to fill Brian Shiozawa’s Senate seat in 2017. Riebe emerged from the Democrat primaries and defeated Zehnder in the 2018 general election to fill out the remainder of that senate term.  

Northwest Murrayites residing in House District 34 will decide to either give incumbent Karen Kwan (D) another term or allow newcomer, educator Judie Roberts (R) a seat in the state legislature. House District 35, in north-central Murray, has incumbent Mark Wheatley (D) in a three-way battle with Luke Gustafson (R), an internal auditor, and Adam Bean of the United Utah Party.

In northeast Murray’s House District 37, incumbent Carol Spackman Moss (D) is being challenged by Utah Eagle Forum Executive Director Maryann Christiansen. And southwest Murray will decide a three-way race between incumbent Andrew Stoddard (D), West Jordan Park Supervisor Kyle Bird (R), and United Utah Party’s John Jackson for House District 44.

With representative Marie Poulsen’s retirement, Murray will have a new representative for its southeastern House District 46. This three-way race features educator Gay Lynn Bennion (D), Executive Officer of the Salt Lake Home Builders Association Jaren Davis (R), and retired attorney Lee Anne Walker (Libertarian).

Murray School Board members Glo Merrill and Jaren Cooper run unopposed in their elections this year. Eastside Murray residents living within Twin Peaks or Woodstock Elementary School boundaries will choose between business consultant Clarke Nelson and Granite Education Association Director Starleen Orullian.

The deadline to register to vote and request a mail-in a ballot is Friday, Oct. 23. Voter registration may be done online at vote.utah.gov. A Utah driver’s license and current Utah address are required for registration. Ballot drop boxes can be found at Murray City Hall and the Salt Lake County Complex, which will also have in-person voting on Election Day.