Judge denies request to pull Celeste Maloy from special election ballot

Jul 31, 2023, 10:46 AM | Updated: 5:34 pm

celeste maloy pictured, a lawsuit against her was heard today...

Congressional candidate Celeste Maloy speaks with the Deseret News editorial board at the Triad Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 30, 2023. (Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A judge denied the request to temporarily remove congressional candidate Celeste Maloy from the ballot in the race to replace Congressman Chris Stewart, R-Utah, this morning. 

That means, unless an appeal is filed, Maloy’s name will stay on the ballot in the 2nd Congressional District special election. 

What does the lawsuit say?

Quinn Denning, who Maloy beat out at the Republican party convention, sued Maloy and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson over Maloy’s registration status. The suit claimed she wasn’t a registered Republican on the day she filed her candidacy and that Henderson violated state law when she certified her candidacy.  

The judge’s reasoning

Judge Andrew Stone sided with Maloy’s lawyers when explaining that just because Maloy wasn’t properly registered didn’t mean she wasn’t a member of the Republican party. 

“I think it is stretching it a bit thin to conclude that registration equals membership, or that registration is a prerequisite to membership,” Stone said.

He also concluded that it was too late in the special election to upset the election.

“I think the public interest favors respecting the party convention’s choice,” Stone said. “I think the public interest favors not upsetting an ongoing election process.”

Maloy’s registration status was in question because she was on a removable voter list when she filed to run. Because of this, Denning’s team argued that Maloy should never have been certified.

“The Lt. Governor’s office call[ed] Ms. Maloy on the 15th of June and [said] ‘hey you’re not registered, which is akin to saying you’re not a Republican,” Chad Shattuck, a lawyer for Denning, argued.

But Lowry Snow, Maloy’s lawyer argued that just because her registration status wasn’t up to date, didn’t mean she wasn’t a member of the Utah GOP.

“The Utah Republican party is the gatekeeper of membership and its own organization and affirmed Ms. Maloy’s membership,” Snow told the judge.

“There was no rule, regulation, bylaw of the party, constitutional provision in the Utah republican party, that would have terminated her membership from the party based on that inactive registration,” he later argued. 

After the hearing, Denning was asked if his team planned to appeal the ruling. He declined to comment.  

Late in the day Monday, Lt. Gov. Henderson spoke out and said the ruling was “a win for the rule of law.”

“Lawsuits, such as this one, that are driven by politics and false accusations instead of facts, are an enormous waste of government resources and taxpayer money,” Lt. Gov. Henderson wrote. “We look forward to this case being dismissed entirely and encourage the petitioners to withdraw any further costly litigation. In the meantime, we will continue to faithfully execute the law and administer the special election.”

Related: The Utah Debate Commission will not hold GOP special election primary debate

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

CD2 Special Election

Congressman Chris Stewart named chairman of the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association...

Samantha Herrera

Rep. Chris Stewart’s final farewell to Congress

His resignation takes effect on Friday, ending a decade of serving in the U.S. House.

20 days ago

Image of Celeste Maloy who has won the GOP primary in the race to replace Rep. Chris Stewart in Uta...

Lindsay Aerts

Celeste Maloy wins 2nd Congressional District GOP primary, Edwards concedes

The latest batch of results was released Wednesday afternoon, after which Maloy's primary lead jumped by about a thousand votes.

27 days ago

Andrew Roth holds his daughter Maggie as he casts his ballot during Utah's municipal and primary el...

Simone Seikaly

Edwards concedes Utah’s 2nd Congressional District Republican primary

Becky Edwards began the night with a strong lead that was eaten away as more rural counties began providing ballot numbers.

28 days ago

Tonight is Utah Primary Election night...

Simone Seikaly

Live blog: Primary election night in Utah, 2023

What will the turnout look like? Who'll pull ahead in the Race to Replace Rep. Chris Stewart in Utah's 2nd Congressional District?

28 days ago

A Utah County ballot drop box is pictured. Utah County Clerk Aaron Davidson, R-Utah, is facing a co...

Hugo Rikard-Bell

Utah Republicans vote for 2nd Congressional District

Across the 2nd Congressional District, polling stations and ballot drop boxes are set up and ready to receive ballots.

28 days ago

becky edwards, bruce hough and celeste maloy are pictured, they are running to be the replacement f...

Lindsay Aerts

Utah’s 2nd Congressional District Republican candidates gear up for final push

Republican candidates Celeste Maloy, Bruce Hough, and Becky Edwards hope to help more Utah voters to make a decision -- and then, turn out to vote. 

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

close up of rose marvel saliva blooms in purple...

Shannon Cavalero

Drought Tolerant Perennials for Utah

The best drought tolerant plants for Utah can handle high elevations, alkaline soils, excessive exposure to wind, and use of secondary water.

Judge denies request to pull Celeste Maloy from special election ballot