The Utah County Republican Party has elected Josh Daniels as Utah County clerk/auditor.

County GOP delegates elected Daniels, who has served as interim clerk/auditor since April, when Utah County Commissioner Amelia Powers Gardner resigned to join the commission, during a special election held between Thursday and Saturday.

Daniels was declared the winner after one round of ranked-choice voting, during which he received 239 of 381 delegate votes, about 63%.

Wendy Hart, a former member of the Alpine School District Board of Education, came in second place with 122 delegate votes, about 32%.

Former Commissioner Greg Graves, who was accused of sexual harassment in 2017 and called a “workplace bully” and “someone with whom personal interaction is to be avoided as much as possible,” received 15 delegate votes, about 4%.

Orem resident Jason Christensen, who unsuccessfully ran for clerk/auditor in 2018, came in fourth place with five delegate votes, just over 1%.

Daniels, a former combat veteran who served in Iraq, spent two and a half years as Gardner’s chief deputy after she was elected in 2018. The two have received national recognition for implementing innovative technologies in local government, including offering marriage licenses and ceremonies online.

During a Thursday online forum event hosted by the Utah Platform Republicans PAC, Daniels said his duties as chief deputy included “overseeing our day-to-day operations (and) implementation of a variety of reforms.”

“And I’d like to continue that process,” he said. “There’s so much work that we have done and so much work that is yet to do and so much work that’s still underway.”

Daniels also spoke about the “challenges” the clerk/auditor’s office faced during the 2018 election, during which Republican Mia Love narrowly lost to Democrat Ben McAdams in the 4th Congressional District race.

“Many people feel like, had our election been smoother, that maybe (the outcome of the 4th Congressional District race) could have been different,” said Daniels. “Well, in 2020, we were able to see, really, the fruits of a lot of labor in turning around our operations. We got some new systems and kind of redesigned how we administer elections to really focus on efficiency. We increased security, we increased transparency, and we’d like to continue to do those things.”

In a written statement following the special election, Daniels told county GOP delegates he was “humbled by your vote of confidence and by the trust you have extended to me.”

“I look forward to continuing the quest to innovate and improve election operations, to ensure security and transparency, and to build public trust in our election process,” he wrote. “I also look forward to working to help Utah County operate cost-effectively through our work in the Auditor’s office.”

Former Commissioner Tanner Ainge, who Gardner replaced earlier this year, took to Twitter to congratulate Daniels, who he called “one of the smartest, hardest-working public servants I had the pleasure of working with.”

Daniels received endorsements from U.S. Republican Reps. Burgess Owens and John Curtis, as well as Lehi Mayor Mark Johnson, Vineyard Mayor Julie Fullmer and a handful of current and former state lawmakers, according to his campaign website.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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