The Latest on Tuesday’s midterm election in Utah (all times local):

8:00 p.m.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has handily won a U.S. Senate seat in his adopted home state of Utah after a campaign where he backed off his once-fierce criticism of Donald Trump.

Romney clinched the win Tuesday as soon as polls closed in Utah, where voters are also choosing whether U.S. Rep. Mia Love will earn a third term and deciding if the state will make medical marijuana legal.

Romney defeated Democrat Jenny Wilson, a member of the Salt Lake County council. He replaces longtime Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who chose not to seek re-election.

Romney was the heavy favorite to win the seat in conservative Utah, where he holds near-celebrity status as the first Mormon presidential nominee from a major party.

Love, a Republican, is facing a challenge from Democrat Ben McAdams in the state’s 4th congressional district that covers many of the Salt Lake City suburbs.

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5:30 p.m.

Massage therapist Jay Neilson says health care was the important issue for him this election, which is why voted for the medical marijuana and Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives to get people help who need it.

The 59-year-old who votes Democrat knows that state leaders have vowed to join 30 other states in legalizing pot for people with certain conditions no matter if the ballot measure passes under a compromise reached before the election. But, Neilson says he wanted to cast his vote to show his support.

“It should have been done long before now, but putting it on the ballot forced their hand, and I’m glad it did,” said Neilson, of Draper. “Hopefully things will work out for those who are in desperately need of that medical cannabis.”

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3:40 p.m.

Utah election officials say 50 percent of all active, registered voters had already voted by early ballot as of Tuesday morning.

The Lieutenant Governor’s office, which runs elections, reported that 700,444 ballots has been turned in — half of the nearly 1.4 million voters.

This year, 27 of the state’s 29 counties offered early, mail-in balloting. The figures show that voter turnout is particularly high in the state’s most populated county, Salt Lake County. About 55 percent of the county’s 518,000 voters had turned in their ballots.

The county accounts for about eight in 10 voters in the state’s 4th congressional district where Republican Mia Love is expected to face a stiff challenge from Democrat Ben McAdams.

Early voting was slow in the state’s second-largest county, Utah County. Only 36 percent of voters in Utah County had turned in ballots by Tuesday. The county has the second-largest share of voters in the Love-McAdams district.

Utah voters can drop off early ballots at polls on Tuesday and the state for the first time allowing unregistered voters to register on Election Day and cast a ballot. Polls open at 7 a.m. MT and close at 8 p.m. MT.

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12:55 p.m.

Cluff told The Associated Press she’d “love more of a check on the president right now.”

The 31-year-old Cluff is a Republican party activist but doesn’t support the president and is particularly disturbed by his talk on immigration. She appreciates that Love backed an effort to force a vote on bill to help young immigrants known as Dreamers.

Love is the first black Republican woman elected to Congress, and Cluff said that gives her an important perspective in the GOP.

She said she’s spoken with Love’s Democratic challenger Ben McAdams, but won’t vote for him because she’s concerned that he’d toe the party line in Congress.

12:35 a.m.

Voter Steve Jacobson says he’s voting for Democrat Ben McAdams, who is challenging Republican U.S. Rep Mia Love in a tight race.

The 51-year-old retail manager told The Associated Press that he’s worried about the high cost of health care, especially for his mother, who is on a fixed income.

Supporters of Utah Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney, await word on national election results at gathering in Orem, Utah, Tuesday, Nov 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene Sweeney Jr)
Supporters of Utah Republican Senate candidate Mitt Romney, await word on national election results at gathering in Orem, Utah, Tuesday, Nov 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene Sweeney Jr)

Jacobson says he’s also concerned about protecting equality for all, since he has a partner and two children at home.

He says he questions whether Love is trustworthy because of allegations that her campaign improperly raised money for a primary where she ran unopposed.

Love has said most of that money was properly raised and released a Federal Election Commission email backing her position, though she still faces an open compliant from a left-leaning group.

10:15 a.m.

A 79-year-old furniture store owner from Price, Utah, says Republican Mitt Romney is his pick in the race for a U.S. Senate seat from Utah.

Bill Knott told The Associated Press that he followed Romney’s career, including the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He believes Romney is a good man and capable leader aligned with his own moderately conservative Republican views.

Knott expects Romney to win the race against Democrat Jenny Wilson, but doesn’t think Romney will resume criticizing Trump the way he did during the 2016 election once in office.

According to Knott, Romney doesn’t always approve of President Donald Trump but “realizes Trump is in power” and believes he has been effective.

Knott considers Trump “embarrassing and kind of a jerk” but performing a necessary role.

9:25 a.m.

Stephen Adams, a 32-year-old engineer from Draper, voted for Democrats this time around to show his displeasure with Utah’s conservative culture.

Adams voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election, but cast his early ballot for U.S. Senate for Romney’s opponent, Democrat Jenny Wilson. He said it was mostly about voting against Romney.

Adams also voted Democrat in his U.S. House district.

The father of two said he grew up Mormon and used to be Republican but began drifting away from both after his brother came out as gay five years ago.

“His willingness to get in fight publicly has been really discouraging,” Adams said. “I don’t like to see that in a president.”

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7 a.m.

Voting is underway across Utah as polling sites open for Tuesday’s midterm election.

Voters will decide a hotly contested congressional race, a high-profile medical marijuana proposal and a replacement for Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is the heavy favorite to win the race for Hatch’s seat against Democrat Jenny Wilson, but other races are too close to call.

Perhaps the tightest congressional race is between U.S. Rep. Mia Love and the Democrat challenging her for the seat, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.

Meanwhile, voters also will decide the fate of ballot proposals that include a medical-marijuana plan that’s drawn criticism from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Voters also will decide whether to expand the state’s Medicaid program after years of resistance by state lawmakers.

11:05 p.m.

Utah voters have a list of decisions to make at the polls Tuesday, including a hotly contested congressional race, a high-profile medical marijuana proposal and a replacement for Sen. Orrin Hatch after more than 40 years.

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is the heavy favorite to win the race for Hatch’s seat against Democrat Jenny Wilson, but other races are too close to call.

Perhaps the tightest race is between U.S. Rep. Mia Love and the Democrat challenging her for the seat, Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.

Meanwhile, voters are also weighing in on a number of ballot proposals, including a medical-marijuana plan that’s drawn criticism from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

They’ll also decide whether to expand Medicaid after years of resistance by state lawmakers.

Source: The Associated Press