Stephens officially wins Ogden city council race, Bitton concedes

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 2:24 PM

Mitch Shaw, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — The votes are in: Doug Stephens has officially prevailed in his Ogden city council race against Turner Bitton.

The incumbent councilman took home 55 percent of the vote in Municipal Ward 3, besting Bitton by a vote of 603 to 487.

With 471 provisional and absentee ballots still out after unofficial elections results were released on election day, Nov. 5, the council race wasn’t officially over until Nov. 9, when Bitton received an update from Ogden city and left a message with Stephens, telling him he had conceded the race.

“I left Doug a message and I plan on talking with him as well,” Bitton said Monday. “But I just didn’t want to let this thing linger on any longer.”

Stephens begins his third term as a member of Ogden’s city council. He was elected to represent Municipal Ward 3 in November of 2005 and was re-elected in November 2009. In 2008 he was elected and served as Council Vice Chair.

“I’m excited to get back to work,” Stephens said Monday. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but right now there is a real cooperative attitude between the council and the administration and I think we can do some positive things.”

After ballots had been counted on election day, Bitton trailed Stephens by 116 votes. The 22-year-old challenger held out a slim hope that the provisional and absentee ballots could alter the outcome of the race because his campaign focused heavily on mail-in ballots.

With incumbent councilmen Bart Blair and Neil Garner each winning in uncontested races and Marcia White besting Stephen Thompson by nearly 1,000 votes, all of the other Ogden races were decided by the time polls closed on election day.

“Obviously it wasn’t enough,” Bitton said. “But it was a great race and it was a phenomenal opportunity for me.”

Bitton, who serves as vice chair of the Weber County Democratic Party, says his career in politics is far from over.

“I love to talk about the issues and I will continue to be involved with the Weber County Democratic Party,” he said. “I want to continue to make sure Ogden’s residents have a choice at the ballot box. I think healthy and constructive competition is better for our citizens.”

Ogden City Recorder Tracy Hansen said absentee ballots postmarked before the day of the election and received before noon on the day of the official canvass will still be counted, but won’t likely impact the race.

Ogden city’s official election canvass is scheduled for Nov. 19.

Contact reporter Mitch Shaw at 801-625-4233 or Follow him on Twitter at @mitchshaw23.

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