Utah governor candidate Phil Lyman must find new running mate after judge rules his pick ineligible

Utah Republican governor candidate Phil Lyman and his first pick for lieutenant governor Layne Bangerter (left) enter a Third District Court courtroom in West Jordan for a listening to on a lawsuit to incorporate Bangerter on the first poll, on May 3, 2024. (Alixel Cabrera / Utah News Dispatch)

A judge selected Friday that Phil Lyman’s first running mate selection doesn’t meet the Utah Constitution’s residency necessities to be eligible for the workplace of lieutenant governor. 

This is the top of the brief legal fight in opposition to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, which oversees the state’s elections, to incorporate Bangerter on the first poll, Lyman stated. He’ll find a new running mate by midday on Monday, to fulfill the state’s new deadline for the first poll, he advised reporters after the judge introduced his determination.

Utah legislation says {that a} candidate for that workplace must be a state resident for 5 years “next preceding” the election. The courtroom was tasked with figuring out the best way to interpret the time period “next preceding,” as Bangerter, a former Donald Trump administrator and marketing campaign director, had lived in Utah for a few years all through his lifetime, however was a resident of Idaho in 2021.

Third District Court Judge Matthew Bates determined in a West Jordan courtroom room that earlier Utah Supreme Court choices had dominated that “next preceding” meant “immediately before” the election, so Bangerter didn’t meet the election standards. He additionally denied the restraining order filed by Lyman, who received the Utah Republican Party’s  nomination through the state GOP convention final week.

“Layne would have been a huge asset to the state of Utah. It’s really unfortunate. And we didn’t go into this flippantly. We looked at the language, obviously, there (were) lots of arguments for and against, and the fact that it came out against us, we take that we take the judge’s (decision),” Lyman advised reporters. “It’s very disappointing for me, personally, that Layne won’t be my running mate.”

Bangerter agreed and stated that whereas the judge’s determination was disappointing, they’ll abide by it and transfer ahead. 

“It is what it is,” Bangerter stated.

Judge determination shuts down ‘election interference’ claims

The interpretation of the “next preceding” time period solved the battle of whether or not the Lieutenant Governor’s Office acted lawfully whereas not allowing Bangerter to file his candidacy

The subject, Lyman’s legal professional argued, was about “election interference” and whether or not the interpretation of the legislation would immediate a delay that might price Lyman the first election. But, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office argued that together with Bangerter’s title within the poll would go in opposition to the legislation.

According to Chad Shattuck, an legal professional representing Bangerter and Lyman, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office didn’t take the required steps when Bangerter tried to file his candidacy. A clerk refused to learn the structure regulation and take his oath, Shattuck stated. 

Shattuck additionally cited controversy around Utah Rep. Celeste Maloy’s 2023 candidacy as a result of she wasn’t an lively registered voter in Utah on the time she filed to run, and her candidacy was accepted.

“Utah code doesn’t create a gatekeeping role for the Lieutenant Governor Office,” he stated.

However, Daniel Widdison, an legal professional representing the Lieutenant Governor Office, argued the primary distinction between each circumstances was that Maloy’s eligibility issues have been a part of the Republican Party bylaws, not one thing the lieutenant governor needed to resolve.

Widdison added that the workplace may both contest the candidacy after submitting or not settle for it if the clerk was conscious of ineligibility upfront.

“The court is being asked to tell our constitutional officers and other sworn officers to ignore the oath that they took to enforce and uphold the Constitution,” Widdison stated, “in order to accommodate this specific candidate who sadly doesn’t qualify.”

Ultimately, the judge stated he had no selection however to conclude that Bangerter wasn’t eligible to function lieutenant governor.

“I have great respect for the cherished institutions that we have to vote for elected officials, and to run for elected office. But I run up against the Constitution of the State of Utah, which declares that no person is eligible to be lieutenant governor unless they have been a resident citizen of the state for five years next preceding the election,” Bates stated, “which clearly meant, at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, the five years immediately before that election.”

After the choice, Lyman stated his staff believed Bangerter’s candidacy could be reliable.

“It’s interesting. And I do feel like it’s a little bit of selective application of the law, because we’ve seen other cases where candidates kind of were allowed to go all through the process before they were challenged on this,” Lyman stated, “and this should have happened on this application.”

Lyman will proceed his marketing campaign with a new running mate. He stated he hopes this case helps make clear different necessities, maybe with new laws.

“This shows with the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, there are a lot of deficiencies on their forms, a lot of ambiguity, a lot of ambiguity from the legislative side of it,” Lyman stated. “(It helped) to give clear language that didn’t exist in this case. So I think this helped to clarify and we’ll move forward with that.”

Political reactions

After the information of the courtroom determination, Brian King, the Democratic Party nominee for the governor’s race, stated the lawsuit — and Lyman’s candidacy as an entire — was a product “chaos” that outcomes from validating “the most extreme elements of the Utah Legislature.” 

King additionally attacked Cox, accusing him of being “complicit in this chaos” by supporting “bills with short-sighted policies that hurt the most vulnerable and cheerleads culture ware lawsuits, all to score political points and appease his base.” 

In response to King’s assault, Matt Lusty, a spokesperson for Cox’s marketing campaign, stated that the governor is proud to help conservative insurance policies, reminiscent of faculty selection, pro-life initiatives and tax cuts.

“The Governor appreciates the broad support he has from everyday Republicans across the state,” Lusty wrote. “A recent Morning Consult polling showed the Governor with 69% approval and only 19% disapproval among all Republican voters.”


The submit Utah governor candidate Phil Lyman must find new running mate after judge rules his pick ineligible appeared first on Utah News Dispatch.

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