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Utah GOP elects Heidi Balderree of Saratoga Springs as state senator, replacing Jake Anderegg

By Carlene Coombs - | Oct 12, 2023
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Heidi Ballderree stands with Sen. Jake Anderegg, left, and Utah Senate President Stuart Adams, right, at the Senate District 22 special election caucus at Mountain Ridge Junior High in Highland on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. Anderegg resigned from his seat last month.
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Heidi Balderree speaks to Republican Party delegates alongside her family at the Senate District 22 special election caucus at Mountain Ridge Junior High in Highland on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.
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State Sen. Jake Anderegg listens to candidates speak during the Senate District 22 special election caucus at Mountain Ridge Junior High in Highland on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023
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Heidi Balderree stands with Sen. Jake Anderegg at the Senate District 22 special election caucus at Mountain Ridge Junior High in Highland on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.
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Republican Party delegates for Utah and Salt Lake counties sit in an auditorium during the Senate District 22 special election caucus at Mountain Ridge Junior High in Highland on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.
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Utah Republican Party Chair Rob Axson speaks to party delegates during the Senate District 22 special election caucus at Mountain Ridge Junior High in Highland on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. Thirteen candidates for Senate District 22 sit on the stage.

After six rounds of voting, Utah Republican delegates elected Heidi Balderree from Saratoga Springs to replace state Sen. Jake Anderegg, who resigned from the Utah Senate last month.

The election persisted until nearly midnight Wednesday, with six voting rounds occurring before a candidate reached the minimum 50% of votes required to win. Balderree won with 67 votes, about 55%, while Corey Astill, who withdrew from the Lehi City Council race to run for the open Senate seat, was behind with 54 votes, or 44%.

Balderree will now serve Senate District 22 for the remainder of Andregg’s term and face reelection in November 2024. The district contains parts of Lehi, Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain and a small portion of Draper in the Salt Lake Valley.

“I’m just so honored to have won,” Balderre told the Daily Herald. “I’m excited to get to work. I’m excited to have representation on the west side of the district.”

“I really am grateful that there were such a deep field of candidates because I think it made everyone step up their game. … I think it made me a better candidate,” she said. In total, 13 candidates were vying for the open seat.

Balderree said she would consider running legislation to prevent a “central bank digital currency” and wants to look at hardening and improving the state’s power grid.

In speaking to Republican delegates Wednesday night before voting began, Balderree described herself as a “political-economic refugee” from California.

“If we want freedom and prosperity, we need to avoid the types of legislation that those types of states have adopted,” she said.

Balderre also spoke on advocating for school choice. “When you elect me, I will work to make schools places of education, not indoctrination,” she said.

Balderree has worked with Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit political advocacy group. She told the Daily Herald that she will be leaving her position there this week as she prepares to work in the state Senate.

One hundred twenty-one delegates from Utah and Salt Lake counties cast votes in the final round, with delegates representing about 30,500 registered Republicans in the district. In total, 129 delegates attended, but a few left as the night crept on.

Anderegg announced his resignation in September, pointing to difficulties in juggling work, family and his legislative duties. His last day as a senator will be Oct. 15, with Balderree being sworn in soon after. A date for her swearing-in has not been solidified yet.

In between rounds of voting, Anderegg addressed the candidates and delegates, saying he had the “utmost confidence” in the candidate pool for his seat. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve you, to do my best to represent you in the state Legislature, to represent your needs and your concerns,” he said, thanking the delegates and constituents in the audience.

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