Democratic candidate in SD9 withdraws; Democrats likely won’t get to name a replacement

The Democratic candidate in the race to replace retiring Senate President Wayne Niederhauser has withdrawn from the race, and it’s unlikely that the Democratic Party will get to replace her on the ballot. 

Abbey Wright withdrew from the SD9 race on May 18. She tells in a phone message that she has some family medical issues that prompted her withdrawal. According to state law, a party can replace a candidate on the ballot if the nominee “resigns because of acquiring a physical or mental disability as certified by a physician.” In that case, the party can nominate a replacement by August 31. Since the medical issues Wright cited are not her own, the party will most likely not get the chance to replace her.

Wright defeated fellow Democrat Monica Zoltanski at the convention to win the nomination. Her withdrawal leaves Republican Kirk Cullimore and United Utah Party candidate Alexander Castagno in the race.

If Democrats are unable to replace Wright on the November ballot, their only recourse would be running a write-in candidate, which is an extremely difficult proposition. In 2004, Republican Salt Lake County Mayor Nancy Workman dropped out of her re-election bid after being accused of two felony charges of misusing county money, she was later acquitted. However, she pulled out of the race in October, leaving Republicans with Ellis Ivory as a write-in candidate. He lost to Democrat Peter Corroon.

SD9 is a difficult district for Democrats to win. According to voter registration numbers from L2, a political data firm, the district is 44.5% registered Republican voters, 38.9% unaffiliated voters, and 13.5% Democrats.