LOGAN – Utah legislative candidate Chris Wilson of Logan has a lot to be grateful for.
As a result of the GOP primary balloting on June 30, he’s the anointed Republican candidate to replace lame duck Lyle Hillyard in the Utah Senate. He was able to spend the past week relaxing, “recharging his batteries” and getting reacquainted with his family after a tough two-month campaign he described as a “non-stop sprint” for the nomination.
Wilson also counts himself lucky to have not been involved in the primary’s cliff-hanger ending when final ballot-counting was delayed for three days by the 4th of July holiday.
“When I checked the state ballot counts on Friday (July 3) and saw there was no change from the day before,” Wilson explains, “I was grateful that I wasn’t one of the candidates who was still on pins and needles waiting for final results from the primary. I would have hated to spend the entire Independence Day weekend worrying about whether I had won or lost.”
There was little question about the outcome of the nomination race between Wilson and his incumbent opponent as early as Tuesday, June 30.
Late that night, initial ballot counts from Utah Senate District 25 had Wilson with 62 percent of nearly 13,700 ballots cast, compared to 38 percent for Hillyard. Ultimately, nearly 18,000 ballots would be counted, but the vote margin between the candidates remained relatively firm. Hillyard quickly acknowledged Wilson’s win.
Wilson admits had he had not anticipated that wide a margin of victory.
“Yeah, I was a little surprised on Tuesday night,” he laughs. “My wife Kiersten didn’t believe the first results that we saw on the computer screen and I wondered if it wasn’t a mistake too … We felt fairly confident of our chances from all of the feedback that we’d gotten from supporters in previous weeks, but you’re just never really certain how things are going to turn out when the votes are counted.
“But our campaign was a great team effort and that paid off. We really appreciate all the time and effort that people contributed to our campaign.”
Wilson is also lavish in his appreciation of the voters’ confidence, of his family’s support, of the encouragement he received during the campaign and of the well wishes he’s received since the primary voting.
If elected in the November general election, Wilson acknowledges that he will have big shoes to fill in the Utah Senate.
“I definitely want to recognize Sen. Hillyard for his 40 years of service (in the Legislature) for our community,” Wilson adds. “We should all be really grateful to him and to his wife Alice for all their sacrifices over the years.”
Wilson will now face off against Utah State University professor and Democratic candidate Nancy Huntly in the general election in November.