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Lehi council candidate withdraws to run for state Senate, leading to recount of municipal primary

By Carlene Coombs - | Sep 14, 2023

Harrison Epstein, Daily Herald file photo

Ballots sit in the Utah County ballot center in Provo on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.

Lehi City Council candidate Corey Astill has dropped out of the race as he now pursues an open seat in the Utah Senate. His withdrawal from the race will now trigger a recount of ballots due to ranked-choice voting being used in Lehi’s municipal primary election.

Astill now plans to run for Senate District 22 after current state Sen. Jacob Anderegg announced he is resigning his position in October. State Republican Party delegates will vote to replace the Lehi senator next month.

In a letter announcing his withdrawal from the race, Astill said his desire to address transportation issues in the area led him to pursue the state Senate seat.

“My desire to serve my community wasn’t based on a specific office or even just in Lehi,” he wrote. “It was to solve some of the issues like our transportation needs and lack of East-West corridor options that are largely controlled and funded by the State.”

“If elected, I will work tirelessly to solve some of these big issues,” he said.

District 22 comprises Lehi, Eagle Mountain, Saratoga Springs and Draper.

In September, Lehi was the first municipality in Utah to use ranked-choice voting in a primary election. Due to state law, ballots will need to be re-tabulated, removing Astill’s name from the mix.

Under a ranked-choice voting system, voters rank candidates from their first to last choices, with the contender with the fewest votes being eliminated and votes then being reallocated based on how voters ranked the candidates. In the Lehi election, multiple rounds of elimination occurred until there were twice the number of candidates as seats to be filled. Three council seats are open, with six candidates needed for the general election.

According to Utah County Clerk Aaron Davidson, the county plans to tabulate the ballots for the Lehi race again on Monday, allowing another candidate to move on to the general election.

Astill came in fourth during the primary, according to preliminary results, and would have moved on to the general election in November. The other five contenders projected to continue are Paige Albrecht, Michelle Stallings, Heather Newall, Nicole Kunze and Kenneth Roberts.

Brian Chapman, campaign manager for Astill, said they did have some concerns about dropping out of the race and how that would impact the primary election results.

Chapman said due to this issue, if elected to the state Senate, Astill plans to address ranked-choice voting so that in similar situations, the state law and processes are clear.

The Utah Republican Party will have an election sometime early to mid-October to replace Andregg’s seat, with 150 state delegates voting for a new senator, according to Party Chair Rob Axson. He said the party is expected to release details with the election’s date and information for contenders to file for candidacy in the coming days.


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