St George • Two of the three incumbent St George City Council members up for re-election appear in good shape to retain their seats in the November 21 general election, but the third appears to be in an uphill battle for another term.
Though the results are preliminary, councilors Dannielle Larkin and Jimmie Hughes have so far received the most votes from Tuesday’s primary, while incumbent council leader Gregg McArthur is currently sixth.
Only the top six voters in the September 5 primary will advance to the general election, in which the three candidates with the most votes will win a seat on the council.
Larkin, who is seeking a second term, leads with 12.33% of the vote, followed by Hughes in second place with 10.93%. At this point, the two separate 462 votes. St. George’s planning commissioner Steve Kemp, who advocated sticking to city business rather than fomenting culture wars, is in third place with 10.23% of the vote.
Paula Smith and Brad Bennett, both supported by Councilor Michelle Tanner, are currently fourth and fifth with 9.38% and 9.25% respectively. Katheryne Knight and Austin Hodges, two prominent members of the LGBTQ community, finished 12th and 13th in the crowded field and are out of the running.
Larkin, whose campaign slogans were “kindness” and “politeness,” is pleased with her strong performance and feels the early results are somewhat affirmative.
“It’s a statement that people look for civility in politics,” she said. “There have been a lot of attacks on my character, and I’ve committed to running a totally clean campaign that’s really about city politics and not national politics… I didn’t engage in negativity, and I think the voting reflects that.” reflect what people are.” In search of. They want their city government to work.”
Larken plans to remain focused on public safety, affordable housing, parks and recreation, and other fundamental issues that she believes residents of St. George really care about until the general election. She wants to avoid arguments over drag shows, the abolition of culture, and other issues she says some are using to divide the community
“There’s so much work to do that I think it’s a huge waste of time to keep talking about these culture wars that we don’t have a say in and we can’t win,” added Larkin.
Hughes, the incumbent mayor and a fourth-term seeker, credits his strong showing to his sensible approach to government, which he believes puts service above special interests. He is particularly proud of his work with the Swithpointe Community Center to help alleviate the city’s homelessness, as well as his efforts to fund four years of Safe St. George, a multimillion-dollar program to hire more police officers and firefighters and to Improving public safety without increasing taxes.
Despite his strong showing, Hughes said he takes nothing for granted and plans to fight like crazy in the weeks and months leading up to the general election.
“I want to win,” he said. “It’s important to me to be a part of the city council. It’s nothing that’s owed to me. So I’ll make sure people understand where I stand on the issues.”
Brad Bennett, owner of an audiovisual company, is delighted with his fifth place in the primary.
“We feel great,” he said of his campaign. “We were able to do this on a much smaller budget than many of the other candidates, and it’s a testament to our message … which is resonating with the public.”
Bennett has emphasized his opposition to drag shows in the city’s public spaces and has advocated protecting children from “adult content and sexualization.” He has also objected to St. George Mayor Michele Randall’s decision a few months ago to temporarily suspend the public comment period at city council meetings — something he describes as “un-American.”
Growth and affordable housing are two of several themes Bennett would focus on if elected.
“Obviously we want to make sure our growth doesn’t exceed our capabilities or resources,” he said.
Although Bennett says it’s not the government’s job to provide affordable housing, he said he will still work on initiatives that foster an environment that would alleviate the region’s housing problems.
At the unofficial count of votes on Wednesday morning, the candidates stood as follows:
Dannielle Larkin, 4,063, 12.33%
Jimmie B Hughes, 3,601, 10.93%
Steve Kemp, 3,370, 10.23%
Paula Smith, 3,092, 9.38%
Brad Bennett, 3,048, 9.25%
Gregg McArthur, 3,043, 9.23%
Wendi Prince Bulkley, 2,500, 7.59%
Aros Mackey, 2,158, 6.55%
Greg Aldred, 2,132, 6.47%
Steven G Jennings, 1,877, 5.70%
Matthew L Heaton, 1,764, 5.35%
Katheryne Knight, 1,083, 3.29%
Austin Hodges, 659, 2%
Kimball Willard, 567, 1.72%