SALT LAKE CITY — State elections officials now say it is "mathematically impossible" for Jan Garbett to qualify for the Republican primary ballot, even after a federal judge lowered the threshold for her.
In a new court filing obtained by FOX 13 on Wednesday, the Utah Attorney General's Office (representing the Lt. Governor's Office) said state elections officials were still validating signatures submitted by Garbett's campaign, but the number of invalidated signatures was enough to exclude her.
Assistant Utah Attorney General David Wolf said in the filing that Garbett have the Lt. Governor's Office 20,874 signatures on April 28. The next day, state elections officials had reviewed 3,067 signatures. Of those, 1,853 were determined to be invalid.
"The Lt. Governor’s office provides notice to the court that it is now mathematically impossible for Garbett to have submitted 19,040 valid signatures," Wolf wrote. "Pursuant to the Court’s order, the Lt. Governor’s office will complete its review of the remaining signatures as soon as practicable."
The Garbett campaign said it did not have a comment on the filing when contacted by FOX 13 on Wednesday night.
Garbett sued the state arguing that COVID-19 made it incredibly difficult to safely gather the 28,000 signatures required to earn a spot on the ballot. In a ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby lowered the threshold to 19,040 for Garbett to allow her a chance to qualify.
"Even if the Office determines Garbett has been mathematically eliminated from reaching 19,040 signatures, the Office shall as quickly as reasonably practicable continue to verify all signatures Garbett submits to arrive at the total number of valid signatures," Judge Shelby wrote in his order, which was also published on Wednesday.
Garbett, a developer, has campaigned as the only Republican gubernatorial candidate who does not support President Trump. Lt. Governor Spencer Cox (who has recused himself from election-related issues), former Utah Gov. and U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. and real-estate broker Thomas Wright all submitted signatures to earn a spot on the GOP ballot. Cox and former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes also won at the state GOP convention to advance to June's primary.