- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Republican Donald Trump triumphed in Utah on Tuesday, fending off challenges from both Democrat Hillary Clinton and independent candidate Evan McMullin to claim the state’s six electoral votes.

Networks called the race just after 11 p.m. With about 21 percent of the vote in, Mr. Trump had 55.8 percent of the vote, compared to 21.6 percent for Mrs. Clinton and 18.7 percent for Mr. McMullin.

Network made their projection based on early voting results and exit polling.

The traditionally Republican state, which hadn’t voted for a Democrat since 1964 and is home to a large Mormon population, had become one of the most intriguing battlegrounds of the 2016. That was mostly due to the presence of Mr. McMullin, who performed better in Utah than anywhere else in the country.

The independent entered the race at the urging of conservatives who had rejected Mr. Trump and were searching for an alternative. While he’s performed poorly across the nation, his strong showing in Utah added intrigue to what ordinarily would have been an easy win for the GOP.

The most recent Real Clear Politics average of all polls in Utah gave Mr. Trump a 10-point advantage, but Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McMullin were nearly tied for second place. Other recent surveys showed Mr. McMullin as the runner-up; one mid-October poll actually showed him leading in the state by 4 percentage points, though that survey appears to have been an outlier.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein both were polling the low single digits heading into election day.

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