Home US Utah gubernatorial candidate Phil Lyman must find a new running mate after a judge ruled his pick ineligible

Utah gubernatorial candidate Phil Lyman must find a new running mate after a judge ruled his pick ineligible

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Utah gubernatorial candidate Phil Lyman must find a new running mate after a judge ruled his pick ineligible

Republican candidate for governor of Utah Phil Lyman and his first choice for lieutenant governor Layne Bangerter (left) enter a courtroom in the Third District Court in West Jordan for a hearing on a lawsuit to put Bangerter on the primary ballot, on May 3, 2024. (Alixel Cabrera/Utah News Dispatch)

A judge decided Friday that Phil Lyman’s first-choice running mate does not meet the residency requirements of the Utah Constitution to be eligible for the office of lieutenant governor.

This is the end of brief legal fight against the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, which oversees state elections, to put Bangerter on the primary ballot, Lyman said. He will find a new running mate at noon Monday to meet the state’s new deadline for the primary election, he told reporters after the judge announced his decision.

Utah law says a candidate for that office must be a resident of the state for five years “prior to” the election. The court was tasked with determining how to interpret the term “next precedent,” as bangerterDonald Trump’s former administrator and campaign manager, had lived in Utah for many years throughout his life, but was a resident of Idaho as of 2021.

Third District Court Judge Matthew Bates decided in a West Jordan courtroom that previous Utah Supreme Court decisions had ruled that “next previous” meant “immediately before” the election, so Bangerter did not met the electoral criteria. He also denied the restraining order filed by Lyman, who won the Utah Republican Party nomination during the election. republican state convention last week.

“Layne would have been a huge help to the state of Utah. It’s really unfortunate. And we don’t go into this lightly. We looked at the language, obviously, there were a lot of arguments for and against, and the fact that it came out against us, we assume we took the judge’s (decision),” Lyman told reporters. “It’s very disappointing for me, personally, that Layne is not my running mate.”

Bangerter agreed and said that while the judge’s decision was disappointing, they will abide by it and move forward.

“It is what it is,” Bangerter said.

Judge’s decision dismisses accusations of ‘electoral interference’

The interpretation of the term “next previous” resolved the conflict of whether the Lieutenant Governor’s Office acted lawfully while not allowing Bangerter to run.

Lyman’s lawyer argued that the problem was “election interference.” and whether interpreting the law would cause a delay that could cost Lyman the primary election. But the Lieutenant Governor’s Office argued that including Bangerter’s name on the ballot would be against the law.

According to Chad Shattuck, an attorney representing Bangerter and Lyman, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office failed to take appropriate action when Bangerter attempted to run. One employee refused to read the constitutional rules and take the oath, Shattuck said.

Shattuck also cited Controversy surrounding Utah Rep. Celeste Maloy’s 2023 candidacy because she was not an active registered voter in Utah at the time she filed her candidacy and her candidacy was accepted.

“Utah code does not create an oversight function for the Lieutenant Governor’s Office,” he said.

However, Daniel Widdison, an attorney representing the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, argued that the main difference between the two cases was that Maloy’s concerns about eligibility were part of the GOP charter, not something the lieutenant governor had to resolve. .

Widdison added that the office could challenge the nomination after it was submitted or not accept it if the secretary knew in advance that it was ineligible.

“The court is being asked to tell our constitutional officers and other sworn officials to ignore the oath they took to uphold and defend the Constitution,” Widdison said, “to make room for this specific candidate who is woefully unqualified.”

In the end, the judge said he had no choice but to conclude that Bangerter was ineligible to serve as lieutenant governor.

“I have great respect for the cherished institutions we have for voting for elected officials and running for elected office. But I come across the Constitution of the State of Utah, which declares that no person is eligible to be lieutenant governor unless he has been a resident citizen of the state for the five years preceding the election,” Bates said, “which clearly meant, at moment of ratification of the Constitution, the five years immediately preceding that election.”

After the decision, Lyman said his team believed Bangerter’s candidacy would be legitimate.

“It’s interesting. And I feel like it’s a little bit of a selective application of the law, because we’ve seen other cases where candidates were allowed to go through the whole process before being questioned about this,” Lyman said, “and this should have happened in this application.”

Lyman will continue his campaign with a new running mate. He said he hopes this case will help clarify other requirements, perhaps with new legislation.

“This shows that the Lieutenant Governor’s Office has a lot of deficiencies in their forms, a lot of ambiguity, a lot of ambiguity from the legislative side,” Lyman said. “(He helped) provide clear language that did not exist in this case. So I think this helped clear it up and we’ll move forward with that.”

Political reactions

After news of the court decision, Brian King, the Democratic Party candidate for governor, said the lawsuit (and Lyman’s candidacy as a whole) was a product of the “chaos” that results from validating “the more extreme elements of the Utah Legislature.” .”

King also attacked Cox, accusing him of being “complicit in this chaos” by supporting “bills with shortsighted policies that harm the most vulnerable and encourage lawsuits over cultural items, all to score political points and appease his base.”

In response to King’s attack, Cox campaign spokesman Matt Lusty said the governor is proud to support conservative policies such as school choice, pro-life initiatives and tax cuts.

“The Governor appreciates the broad support he has from rank-and-file Republicans across the state,” Lusty wrote. “A recent Morning Consult poll showed the Governor at 69% approval and just 19% disapproval among all Republican voters.”


The charge Utah gubernatorial candidate Phil Lyman must find a new running mate after a judge ruled his pick ineligible appeared first on Utah News Desk.

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