Leaders of the Utah Democratic Party are unhappy with the timing of Republican State Senator John Valentine’s resignation.
On August 4th Governor Gary Herbert nominated John Valentine to become chairman of the Utah State Tax Commission. If members of the Senate confirm the nomination in September, Valentine will have to resign from his post in the Senate. But for state Democratic Party Chariman Peter Corroon the timing of the resignation is very important. According to state law, if a member of the Senate resigns before August 31, voters will chose the replacement in the next general election from candidates from both parties. But if the resignation occurs after that date, delegates from the vacating lawmaker’s party get to choose the replacement. Corroon says waiting to resign shows the Utah Republican Party isn’t concerned with what the voters think.
“It’s a forgone conclusion that the senate will affirm his new position, so why not resign earlier and then allow for a general election," Corroon says." It just seems like it would be the right thing to do.”
While Sen. Valentine, R - Orem, concedes that being confirmed to the Utah State Tax Commission is very likely, he says he’s not resigning until it’s official because he still has lots of work left to do in the Senate.
“I have a committee meeting that I’m chairing that the co-chair in the House said, ‘oh Senator, Don’t leave. We need you to chair this meeting dealing with business licenses,’ which is a day before the confirmation vote. So, I’m going to continue to work right up until the time that I’m confirmed by the Senate,” he says.
Valentine also says he’d be more inclined to agree with Corroon’s complaint if he were from a swing district. Valentine represents Senate District 14 in largely conservative Utah County. He doesn’t think the timing will make much of a difference in who is selected to replace him.