Democrat Thom Kearin has formally withdrawn from his Utah House District 33 race, leaving Republican Phil Uipi the likely winner.

Uipi defeated fellow Republican Robert Babcock in the Sept. 11 primary and now faces only Libertarian Brian E. Swim in the final election. The district has been held by Republicans for years.Kearin was a longtime resident of the Olympus Cove district until he moved out after filing for the office in April. Kearin and his wife separated and she sold their home in June.

Republicans started making noises, saying Kearin should be a resident of the district in order to run. Kearin said he planned to rent an apartment or home before the November election.

But last week he decided to withdraw, saying there was too much controversy over residency. "I was being drawn into the Stoddard story, and it is just not worth it at this time. Economically, it would be tough to move back in (to the district). I may well run again but not in that (Olympus Cove) district."

He referred to Marianne Stoddard, a Republican challenging House Minority Whip Frank Pignanelli in House District 23, Capitol Hill and lower Avenues.

Pignanelli and Salt Lake County Democratic Chairman Earl Hardwick say Stoddard isn't a legal candidate in the district because she voted last November in the Midvale City election. The state constitution says a person must be a resident of a district for six months before filing for the Legislature, and the filing deadline is April 15.

Stoddard says she's been a legal resident living on Capitol Hill for more than a year but temporarily held residence in Midvale just at a time when the city election was held. She says her legislative candidacy is completely legal.

Pignanelli and Harwick asked Salt Lake County Attorney David Yocom to look into the matter, but Yocom opined that he had no power to remove Stoddard or any candidate from the ballot. Pignanelli and Hardwick say they may file suit.