Representative Stephen Handy, ousted at GOP convention, to make written offer | News, Sports, Jobs

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Representative Stephen Handy, a Republican, announces his intention to run a write-in campaign for the District 16 seat at the Utah House during a media event on Tuesday, August 30, 2022. Trevor Lee defeated Handy in the County Republican Party of Davis convention in March and is the party’s official nominee for the position.

Photo provided, Stephen Handy

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Trevor Lee, the Republican nominee for the District 16 seat at Utah House in the 2022 cycle.

Photo provided, Davis County Clerk/Auditor Office

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LAYTON — It will be Republican versus Republican versus Libertarian in the race for the District 16 Utah House seat.

As he previously said it was a possibility Rep. Stephen Handy — the six-term incumbent defeated by Trevor Lee at the Davis County Republican Party convention last March — will launch a written bid to retain the Davis County post. That makes the race a three-way contest heading into Nov. 8 — Handy, Lee, and libertarian Brent Zimmerman go head-to-head.

Handy held an official launch event for his written candidacy in his hometown of Layton on Tuesday. He told the Standard-Examiner on Wednesday that his decision stemmed in part from feedback from voters. He first indicated he was considering a written offer last May after news emerged that Lee used language in an April podcast later deemed “transphobic” by the Davis County Republican Party. , for which Lee later apologized.

“I want to give people the opportunity to vote,” Handy said. “Even though it’s in writing, that’s the option I have. I listen to voters who feel disenfranchised.

Lee, seeking first-time election, defeated Handy by a 59-35 vote at the March 26 Davis County GOP convention, which Handy said does not reflect broader GOP sentiment in the District 16. Nearly 12,000 registered Republicans live in the district, which has a total of 21,000 registered voters.

Lee, for his part, pushed back against Handy’s decision and focused on his status as a political newcomer. Lee is a more conservative Republican while Handy is more moderate and the situation appears to have sparked some of the tensions between different factions in the party.

“I don’t think Steve has accepted the results of our convention run,” Lee told the Standard-Examiner. “We need a new perspective on things.”

Written applications usually have a hard line to hoe. Voters in favor of Handy – who has registered his intention to make a written offer with election officials – will actually have to write his name on one line of the section of the ballot corresponding to the District 16 race. District 16 covers the north of Layton and small parts of South Weber and Clearfield.

Still, Handy thinks the mail-in voting system will help him. Registered voters will receive ballots mailed to their homes about three weeks before Election Day, November 8, and, he said, they will have time to familiarize themselves with the intricacies of how to vote. vote for a written hope.

Plus, Handy has a financial advantage, at least for now. Handy said he received some $50,000 in donations, and more have come since he announced his written plans on Tuesday. Lee brought in $3,482 on his last financial disclosure statement filed last June with state election officials.

On messaging, Lee, an operator at a financial firm that deals in “wealth management”, said he sides with families struggling to get by as inflation drove up prices. “I want to help families in difficulty. … I am like them. I am an average citizen,” he said.

Handy, a marketing consultant, emphasized his service to the Layton area and his relationship with the people of District 16. In addition to his tenure at the Utah House, he served two terms on the City Council of Layton.

“My message is that I have a long, long history of tremendous service to the Legislative District,” Handy said. He called himself “a careful curator”.

Lee made headlines last May after it emerged he used a derogatory word when referring to transgender people as a guest on a conservative podcast. He also expressed some dislike in the podcast towards the LGBTQ community. “I wouldn’t want to be associated with these people,” he said.

In a statement at the time, the Davis County Republican Party said it “unequivocally condemns the transphobic remarks” by Lee. Lee’s comments were also the spur that got Handy thinking about a written campaign.

Lee posted a statement on Facebook shortly after the April podcast saying he had no idea the term he used to refer to transgender people was pejorative and that he would stop using it. He told the Standard Reviewer at the time that he was sorry for the outburst caused by the comment.

It wasn’t the end of things. Lee later condemned Handy for his statement to KSL Radio at the time Lee’s comment during the podcast in question “almost seems white supremacist to me.”

Handy later issued an apology for his comments about white supremacy. “I’m stepping back and apologizing for saying that. I don’t think he’s a white supremacist or a racist,” Handy told the Standard-Examiner at the time.


As the winner of the Davis County Republican Party convention last June, Lee garners party support. “The DCRP bylaws require the county party to recognize the will of the delegates and the party will continue to support our candidate, Trevor Lee, in the general election,” read a post on the party’s Facebook page on Tuesday.

Regardless, responses to the Facebook post indicate that Lee-Handy’s situation has sparked deep division among Republicans.

Andrew Badger, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in the U.S. House primary for the 1st District last June, took aim at Davis County Republican Party chair Daniela Harding. Harding was forced to make the message of support for Lee “against her will,” Badger wrote in the Facebook message chain.

The party denied the accusation, saying Harding was the force behind the release of the statement of support for Lee. “We will not tolerate personal attacks or baseless accusations. We are focused on helping Trevor and other Republicans win in November,” reads Facebook’s response.

Another poster alluded to Harding’s social media posts supporting Handy in his successful 2018 campaign at Utah House. Harding responded, saying she played no role in Handy’s written offer and would play no role in the future.

“Steve Handy honored my request and removed all videos from his website and social media that I made in 2018 in support of his campaign when I was the 16th Legislative Chairman of the DCRP Executive Committee” , Harding wrote in response.


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