SALT LAKE CITY — The residents of Hildale, Utah, have made history by electing town leaders who aren’t members of a polygamous group that has controlled the town for a century.
Final election results unveiled Tuesday show that Donia Jessop defeated incumbent Mayor Philip Barlow by winning 61 percent of the votes.
Three other non-FLDS candidates won seats on the Hildale City Council.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Hildale completed its canvas on Tuesday. Jessop defeated incumbent Philip Barlow, 129-81. Jessop had a 25-vote lead shortly after the polls closed Nov. 7.
Jared Nicol and Maha Layton were elected to four-year terms to the City Council. JVar Dutson was elected to a two-year term, replacing a council member who resigned.
Jessop, Nicol, Layton and Dutson’s campaigns garnered attention because they arbor no allegiance to the polygamous Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The church has long been headquartered in Hildale and Colorado City, Arizona, across the state line. In recent years, two federal juries in Phoenix have found the towns have discriminated against non-FLDS residents and the towns and their insurers have paid millions of dollars in settlements, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
The winning council candidates will join two sitting council members believed to be members of the FLDS. Washington County conducted the election by mail-in ballot.
Jessop becomes the first non-FLDS member to hold the position and the first female mayor of the small town on the Utah-Arizona border. She is a former member of the religion but left over discord about how leaders were running the group.
The election result is another sign that the sect is losing control of Hildale amid government evictions and crackdowns.