Who Democrats picked to replace Karen Mayne in the Utah Senate
Utah County Republicans elected 25-year-old Tyler Clancy to fill the Utah House seat vacated by Adam Robertson.
Utah Democrats swapped one Karen for another on Saturday, electing Rep. Karen Kwan, D-Salt Lake City, to succeed former Sen. Karen Mayne, who suddenly retired from the Utah Legislature after 15 years due to ill health.
Kwan defeated seven other candidates hoping to succeed Mayne in representing the west side of Salt Lake County. During last year’s legislature, Mayne was diagnosed with cancer after breaking her shoulder.
Kwan secured the vote of 30 out of 52 delegates in Senate District 12 to win. According to political data company L2, Democrats make up 23.5% of the approximately 40,000 registered voters in the district.
Kwan was first elected to the Utah Legislature in 2016 and re-elected to a fourth term last November. She will hold the Senate seat until 2024 and faces a special election to fill the remaining two years of Mayne’s four-year term.
Her move to the Senate means another vacancy in the Legislature, and the Democratic delegates in House District 34 will elect a replacement for her. The Democratic Party’s rules state that elections could not take place until after the second week of the 2023 legislative session at the earliest.
“I have known Sen.-Elect Karen Kwan since she began her career as Legislative Service in the Utah House of Representatives in 2017. Senate Democrats greatly appreciate her political expertise and full commitment to representing their constituents,” Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla said in a statement.
“Her effectiveness in the Legislature and her eye for strategic partnerships to initiate meaningful policies in support of all Utahns will be a critical addition to the Senate Minority Caucus,” Escamilla said.
On Saturday, Utah County Republicans elected Tyler Clancy to succeed Adam Robertson, who resigned in December to focus on his growing drone technology company. Clancy, a 25-year-old Provo cop, defeated four other candidates. Clancy, who now represents House District 60, will be the youngest member of the Utah Legislature.
“There’s nothing quite like being elected three days before the session,” Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson tweeted about Clancey’s victory. “Get ready for work.”
In January, Utah Republicans elected Thomas Peterson to replace Joel Ferry, who resigned after winning November’s House District 1 election. Ferry also resigned from his legislative seat last year after Gov. Spencer Cox appointed him head of the Utah Department of Natural Resources and it was too late for the party to replace him as their nominee.
Utah Democrats unsuccessfully sued him to force him out of the ballot, arguing he had no intention of serving if elected. Republican delegates also chose Peterson last September to replace Ferry after his first resignation.