This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
With updated vote counts Friday, it's déjà vu in the House District 44 race between Rep. Bruce Cutler, R-Murray, and Democrat Christine Passey.
Cutler now leads their race by 49 votes, up 50.2 percent to 49.8 percent. On election night, Passey was leading by 226 votes.
The same sort of flip-flop happened when the pair faced each other two years ago. Passey also led on election night then, only to lose to Cutler by 53 votes after all absentee ballots were counted.
That race, and others, could flip again as tens of thousands of votes remain to be counted statewide in coming days.
With the switch in the lead in House 44 race, Democrats are now on track to pick up only two seats in the Utah Legislature this year.
Democrats now lead in three state House races where they could take over Republican seats, and Republicans lead in one race for a Democratic-held district. Those races include:
• The race tightened between Democrat Suzanne Harrison and longtime Rep. Lavar Christensen, R-Draper. She leads 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent, up by 141 votes or 54 fewer more than the lead on election night. Harrison is the head of the anesthesiology department at Riverton Hospital, and raised more money than Christensen, a conservative who authored Utah's now overturned ban on gay marriage.
• Democrat Elizabeth Weight also saw her lead shrink a bit against Rep. Sophia DiCaro, R-West Valley City. Weight now leads 52-48 percent, up by 231 votes, or 39 fewer than on election night. Two years ago, DiCaro won that seat by a slim 195 votes after Democrats also initially thought on election night that they had won it.
• Democrat Karen Kwan widened an already large lead over Republican Macade Jensen. The margin is now 55-45 percent in a race for the seat now held by retiring Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville.
• Republican Christine Watkins led Rep. Brad King, D-Price, by a 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent margin, up 376 votes seven more than on election night. The House 69 seat is the only one held by a Democrat outside Salt Lake County. Watkins is a former Democrat who previously represented the district, and switched parties after she was defeated by a Republican in a district drawn to be more GOP.
A couple other races remain close and could affect final legislative margins.
Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, led Democrat Peter Tomala by a 51-49 percent margin, up by 180 votes.
Also, Republican Tim Quinn led Democrat Rudi Kohler 52-48 percent margin for the seat of retiring Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City.
All of the potential Democratic gains are in the House, where Republicans now hold a 63-12 majority the second-largest in the past 80 years.
In the Senate, Republicans regained a seat now held by Libertarian Sen. Mark Madsen of Saratoga Springs. He recently switched from being a Republican, but is retiring. Rep. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, was unopposed in the race for that seat. With that, Republicans will hold a 24-5 majority in the Senate next year.