Frank, Utah County GOP will await Legislature's decision on District 57 issue

Craig Frank believes his new home is within the district

Published: Saturday, Jan. 15 2011 9:41 p.m. MST

CEDAR HILLS, Utah County — Utah County Republican leaders met Saturday morning to decide when they should hold a special election for House District 57.

Ultimately, they opted to wait until the state Legislature can make a decision on whether District 57 Representative Craig Frank can continue to serve.

Frank has served as a representative in the district — which is in the Cedar Hills part of Utah County — since 2003.

Recently, though, Frank looked at a map that showed he didn't actually live in the district where he served.

Utah laws say you must live in the district you represent.

"This was a mistake," Frank said at his Cedar Hills home Saturday afternoon. “We consulted the county map before we built in this area knowing we would like to continue our legislative service. I say 'we' because this includes my family.”

Now, all he can do is wait.

"There are still some unanswered questions, some significant unanswered questions," Frank said.

The biggest of those questions being: does he or does he not live within the district he has served for over seven years?

Apparently, the answer comes down to which map you use.

"The county Republican party map we've been using for 10 years now clearly shows this area has been in District 57 for that time," Frank said.

However, a state map created before his neighborhood was annexed into Cedar Hills shows Frank's home is not in the district by about a half mile.

That map could cost him the election and force the Utah County GOP to find a new candidate who lives within the district.

Utah County Republican leaders planned on holding a special election Jan. 22, before the legislative session begins Jan. 24.

But now, they will wait to see what action Utah legislators will take. To allow Frank to keep his post, they could either redraw the boundaries or make an exception.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert could call a special session before to redraw the boundaries, but Herbert said Friday there aren't the votes to pass a fix in a special session and neither House nor Senate leaders have asked that one be called.

In the meantime, Utah County GOP leaders and Frank will wait. Utah County GOP chairman Taylor Oldroyd said they have a plan in place in case the Legislature decides to remove Frank from his current position.

"We're going to let the Legislature meet, and then once, if, I should say, they declare a vacancy, then we will move for a special election on the 29th,” Oldroyd said. “One of the things a Legislature does when they meet, is they read a roster of the legislators and they vote on that ... so it will be quickly apparent whether Frank is accepted or not.”

Frank reiterated that it will be his peers who will make the decision. 

"The members seat other members, so it's a consensus and if they don't vote for that, then I'm out," Frank said.

House Speaker-elect Becky Lockhart, in a statement released Saturday, that said the issue is complicated and frustrating, but the state law is clear.

"Based on the information we have received, we stand by our earlier position: Craig does not live in District 57, and there is a statutory process in place where party delegates may choose a new representative," she said.

If the Legislature decides Frank can't represent District 57, and a special election is held, the district will be without a representative for the first week of the legislative session.

E-mail: acabrero@desnews.com

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