Utah Democrats, Republicans disagree on way to fill Senate vacancy

Posted at 6:35 PM, Aug 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-14 00:00:56-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- There could be a general election for State Senate District 14, but there won't be.

That's the word from State Senator John Valentine and the Utah County Republican Party.

"I wouldn't want to presuppose that my nomination is going to sail through," said Valentine, who has been appointed to Chair the Utah Tax Commission.

Valentine's new job will require him to resign his seat in the Senate, assuming that same Senate confirms him for his new job.

State Democrats say Valentine should step down right away.

"If the Senator stepped down before August 31st there would then be a general election for his position," said Utah Democratic Party Chair Peter Corroon.

A Senate confirmation would happen during the September legislative interim session at the earliest.

Utah County Republicans plan to hold a delegate vote after the November election. They said they don't want to interfere with the elections of state representatives who may be interested in the Senate seat as well.

"We don't want to confuse voters, because there's a chance a legislator is elected that is from the House that gets elected to take [Valentine's] place in the Senate," said Casey Voeks, Chair of the Utah County Republican Party.

That would mean that some of the same Republican delegates who choose a new senator would then choose a new Representative.

"My challenge to the Republican Party is quit doing this," said Corroon, "Quit appointing people. Let the citizens decide."

Republicans say Democrats need to stop complaining and start working harder in Utah County.

"I'm not against the two party system," Voeks said. "We'd just like to see the Democrats show up and try a little harder in this county."