Why Powell Suddenly Dropped Out

Kraig PowellRep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber, rocked the Utah political world on Wednesday when he announced suddenly that he was dropping out of his race for another term in the Legislature.

Powell was assured a spot on the primary ballot against Republican Tim Quinn as he took the signature route instead of going through the caucus/convention/delegate system. In fact, earlier this week Powell told UtahPolicy.com that he would sue the Utah GOP if they tried to kick him off the ballot.

Then, Wednesday night Powell announced he was dropping out.

Thursday, he posted this explanation on his Facebook page:

Today I’m sending this letter to the dozens of friends who recently donated to my campaign. I hope that it helps people understand the reasons for my very difficult decision. Thanks to everyone for your support!


Dear Friends:


As you may have heard by now, on April 20th I withdrew from my candidacy for Utah House. I owe you, my most loyal and dedicated supporters, a full and personal explanation of my decision. Here are the factors that prompted me to withdraw:


1 – It quickly became clear over the past few weeks that the primary election campaign was going to be very contentious and negative. Even some of my own friends were getting drawn into the bitterness of the arguments between me and my opponent. We all have to live in this community together and go to school and church and the grocery store together. In order to combat some very direct, very negative allegations about me from my opponent, I was going to need to resort to some very direct, very negative allegations against him – that he is radical or extreme, that he is anti-education, that he is anti-environment, etc. He has been lashing back at those sorts of allegations by me, and he and his supporters take personal offense when you call them extremists, accusing me of engaging in name-calling. You could see the general tenor of the race already. I am unwilling to divide the residents of our community continuously for many weeks in this aggressive, hostile, negative fashion. I think the scars could last for months or years and I think nothing in politics is worth that kind of personal damage.


2 – The impending nastiness of the upcoming campaign has made it impossible for me and Kim to sleep or eat or focus for the past many days. I am a generally nice person. I don’t like to be mean. It has torn me and Kim up every minute to know that in order to combat the allegations that will be leveled against me, I would need to be mean for nine weeks. That is just too much mental and emotional stress and depression for us to handle. It has been a sense of impending darkness, and the darkness has now lifted.


3 – After two months in the legislature and one month campaigning in the presidential race, my REAL job, the one that puts food on the table, has been suffering. There are still more than nine weeks until the primary election, and that is longer than the entire legislative session! The intensity of this campaign would be 24/7 and I didn’t think I could give my clients the attention they deserve.


4 – Our son Benjamin is getting married five weeks from now. The reception is here at our home in Heber. Kim and I would not be able to enjoy this important time with him, or adequately prepare for the wedding, in the middle of a hard-fought campaign.


5 – You may have received one or two of the first dark-money flyers from out-of-state groups attacking me in the past week or so. Each one of those mailings costs about $5,000, and there were going to be many, many more. You have all been so, so generous with your donations, but there is no way we can match that spending from the Koch brothers billionaires.


I am so sorry if I have let you down. I wish I had seen this all coming earlier so other people would have had the chance to run instead. You are the best friends anyone could have. I know we share the same vision and aspirations for our state and nation. Please keep that faith, and do what you can to stay involved in promoting common-sense, reasonable policies in government. You have my endless gratitude. And now you have an uncashed check back in your hands, just like every lobbyist who has ever sent me one!