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LaVar Christensen, author of Utah's now overturned ban on same-sex marriage and one of Capitol Hill's most conservative voices, has won re-election by a margin of three votes out of 17,071 cast.
The final canvass certified Tuesday by the Salt Lake County Council showed Christensen, who appeared to have lost on election night to Suzanne Harrison, leaping ahead in late-counted votes to secure the victory. Harrison is head of the anesthesiology department at Riverton Hospital.
The Utah Democratic Party quickly issued a statement that it would seek a recount, which is allowed in elections where the margin is so slim.
"If we have learned anything from this election, it is that every vote counts," said Democratic Chairman Peter Corroon. "With races that came as close as being decided by three votes, let Utahns remember that every single vote matters."
Democrats picked up two House seats previously held by Republicans: Elizabeth Weight beat one-term incumbent Rep. Sophia Dicaro, R-West Valley City, and Karen Kwan defeated Republican McCade Jensen to win the seat being vacated by outgoing Rep. Johnny Anderson, R-Taylorsville. But Democrats lost another seat as Rep. Brad King, D-Price, was defeated by Republican Christine Watkins for a net gain of one seat.
Corroon said he was "thrilled" that Democrats in the state "picked up legislative seats for the first time in almost a decade."
However, the uptick will barely make a ripple in the GOP supermajority in the state Legislature. Republicans in January will control the House 62-13, and the Senate 24-5.
With the defeat of King, Republicans will hold every legislative seat outside of Salt Lake County.
Christensen was the sponsor of the 2004 amendment to the Utah Constitution that banned gay marriage and any marital rights, protections and benefits to same-sex couples provisions that were thrown out with the U.S. Supreme Court's 2014 decision. The Draper developer and attorney expressed gratitude and relief at his re-election to a sixth term (this will be his fourth consecutive term, but he served two previously.)
"It's a privilege to represent and serve the people in our District  and to do so for the good of our entire state. I am grateful for all we've accomplished together and there is more ahead," he said in a text. "I care deeply for each and every citizen and look forward to serving once again."
He did not respond to a request for comment on the narrowness of his victory or the forthcoming recount.
Salt Lake County had one other race that could provoke a recount. In the new Emigration Canyon Metro Township, where the top five vote-getters earned council seats, Steve Hook finished sixth but only two votes behind fifth-place finisher Kathryn Christensen .
They will be part of a council that also includes Jennifer Hawkes, Joe Smolka, Rick Raile and David Paul Brems.
The most hotly contested countywide race, Republican Richard Snelgrove's defense of his six-year at-large seat against Democratic challenger Catherine Kanter, ended with the GOP incumbent winning by almost 13,500 votes 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent.
Democratic County Mayor Ben McAdams secured a second term with 59.4 percent of the vote over Republican candidate Dave Robinson.
Proposition A, which authorizes the county to issue $90 million in bonds to build new parks and recreation facilities and upgrade existing facilities, passed with 56.6 percent of the vote.
County Clerk Sherrie Swensen said 427,064 votes were counted this election. Of those, 84 percent (356,638) were submitted by mail, although the arrival of 110,000 ballots on Election Day required an expanded clerk's office staff to work all of last week to verify.
She apologized to voters who had to wait in long lines, saying she "wished we'd had more vote centers."