Utah Rep. Seegmiller drops out of District 73 race ahead of GOP primary

Incumbent Utah Rep. Travis Seegmiller has officially dropped out of the race for his district in the upcoming Republican primary on June 28, but his name will still appear on ballots due to a missed deadline, confirmed Seegmiller Monday.

“I’m not running for re-election,” Seegmiller said in a text message to The Spectrum. “I thought I had been very clear. I had no idea that due to a printing deadline, my name would remain on the ballot. It was a pure coincidence and totally unforeseen on my part.

Seegmiller further clarified that he ended his re-election campaign for the new House District 73 the same day he told Utah House of Representatives leaders that he was stepping down as a representative of the House District 62. But since he had not officially removed his name from the ballots, there was some confusion among local Republicans about his status for the upcoming primary where he was to face two other candidates, Colin Jack and Nina Barnes.

Seegmiller said his resignation was due to an “unexpected opportunity” that presented itself to his family that required them to relocate outside the boundaries of House 62 District.

Seegmiller’s name still appears as an active candidate on the elections.utah.gov website in the District 73 race, but he said Monday he plans to sign the appropriate forms with the county to secure his resignation from his current term. and the next primary.

Timing of resignation sparks reactions

The timing of Seegmiller’s resignation, just over a month before the all-important primary election, sparked criticism from some and speculation from others as to whether the decision essentially ceded control. of the district to party officials rather than to regular voters. In its May 15 op-ed, the Salt Tribune editorial board raised questions about whether there was a conspiracy for Republican delegates to choose the next nominee for House District 73.

Local party leaders have scheduled a special election for June 1 where the party’s central committee must choose Seegmiller’s replacement for District 62. Jack was the only person to run for the position, and party leaders have already said that he should win the seat and serve the remainder of Seegmiller’s current term.

“Maybe it’s not a plot by a few party insiders to keep control of this legislative seat. But, if they were to come up with a plan to keep voters out of the room while the decision is made, it would look a lot like this,” the editorial read.

According to the Washington County Republican Party bylaws, the county central committee would replace a candidate who drops out of an election if the candidate drops out after securing the party’s nomination.

Seegmiller pushed back against these claims, saying they were “complete conjecture” and “100% lies.”

That sentiment was echoed by Washington County Republican Party Chair Lesa Sandberg. In a series of debates held last week for local Republican candidates, she said the party did not know Seegmiller’s intentions and that party officials had already told voters that a vote for Seegmiller would be a ” vote lost”.

Dig deeper: Republican primary debates feature new faces, talks on water, growth and education

Seegmiller’s resignation came shortly after reaching an agreement with prosecutors over a hunting incident that took place in 2021, where Seegmiller pleaded to a charge of taking wild animals during a trespass and two others. counts of unlawfully discharging a firearm were dismissed.

Seegmiller said he did not intend to endorse either Jack or Barnes, but said he had a message for Republican voters who vote in this election.

“I urge voters to invest the time necessary to do their homework, so that we cast all the most informed votes possible, consistent with our core values ​​and political goals,” he said.

Utah lawmaker resigns Washington County Republicans vie for House seat

Sean Hemmersmeier covers local government, growth and development in Southwestern Utah. Follow @seanhemmers34 on Twitter. Our work depends on subscribers, so if you want more coverage on these issues, you can subscribe here: http://www.thespectrum.com/subscribe.

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