Sen. Brian Shiozawa's sudden resignation from the Utah Legislature gives Utah Democrats hope at possibly picking up an extra legislative seat in 2018.
Utah Democrats haven't held the SD8 seat since Sen. Karen Morgan retired after the 2012 session. She was replaced by Shiozawa who defeated Josie Valdez that year by a 57-43% margin. In 2016, Shiozawa triumphed over Democrat Ash Anderson by a similar tally. Before Morgan occupying that office, it was held by Republican Carlene Walker.
Currently, Democrats control just 5 seats in the 29-seat Utah Senate. Four of the five seats held by Democrats are up for election in 2018. The only Democrat not facing voters in 2018 is Sen. Luz Escamilla (D-Salt Lake City).
Shiozawa announced his resignation from the seat on Monday after he was appointed to a position with the Health and Human Services Administration by President Donald Trump.
Despite Shiozawa's hold on the seat over the last two election cycles, SD8 is hardly solid Republican territory. According to numbers from Daily Kos, Hillary Clinton won SD8 in 2016 with 45%. President Donald Trump only pulled in 32%, and independent candidate Evan McMullin was able to grab 17%.
Democrat Kathie Allen, who lost November's special Congressional election in CD3 has already announced her intention to run for the seat in the 2018 election and has launched a fundraising site.
Help launch my State Senate campaign: I am running to replace Dr. Brian Shiazowa in Senate District 8 of Utah for the last 2 years of his term. Election Nov '18. https://t.co/RZxd8rDQ4I— Dr. Kathie Allen (@kathieallenmd) December 11, 2017
The Salt Lake County GOP will select a replacement for Shiozawa who will hold the seat during the 2018 Legislature. There will be a special election in 2018 to pick a permanent replacement who will finish the rest of Shiozawa's current term. SD8 will also be up for election