With Nearly a 1,000 Vote Lead, Stevens Sees a Clear Path to Summit County Council
Tuesday’s Democratic primary to fill outgoing Summit County Councilwoman Kim Carson’s seat saw Malena Stevens take a healthy lead over Canice Harte after the first batch of votes were counted.
Although the results won’t become official until the week of July 20, Snyderville Basin Planning Commissioner Malena Stevens’ lead is nearly 1,000 votes ahead of fellow Commissioner Canice Harte.
In the results released on Tuesday night, Stevens received 1,821 votes to Harte’s 831.
In a text message to KPCW on Wednesday morning, Harte wished Stevens luck and thanked his supporters. Stevens says she was not expecting to have a lead as large as the one she has right now and acknowledged there are still quite a few votes yet to be counted.
“You know, it was unexpected,” Stevens said. “I didn’t anticipate the margins to be what they were and I feel very honored to have had so much support. Anything could happen, right? Until the ballots are all counted, we don’t have a firm answer. I think it’s a larger margin than I anticipated and I’m just going to enjoy where I’m at and we’ll see where we land on July 20.”
There is currently no Republican candidate challenging for the council seat. Unless there is a write-in candidate, the winner of the race between Stevens and Harte will be the next county councilor.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s primary was held exclusively by mail and voters were able to mail their ballots up until election day. In previous elections, mail-in ballots had to be postmarked by the day before the election.
The Summit County Clerk’s office is quarantining all mail it receives and Tuesday’s results only counted ballots that had been processed as of Monday. All of the ballots received by the office on Monday and Tuesday have yet to be counted.
Stevens says this election was unique in the fact that traditional campaigning like holding meet-and-greets and door knocking was not possible due to COVID-19. She says she and her campaign had to get creative by hosting virtual events and using media in unique ways as much as they could.
“It was a really odd election just with COVID and all of the pivots that had to take place,” Stevens said. “My strategy was really just to use our local media with endorsements and signage and ads and social media. I guess that worked.”
Stevens says she has been in contact with outgoing Summit County Councilwoman Carson and is looking forward to working with her over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition.
The next batch of votes is expected to be released on Thursday.