Sen. Al Mansell, R-Sandy, decided to start his retirement from the Legislature early by submitting his resignation Friday, a move that will make way for the GOP candidate to be appointed to the seat.
Republican delegates from District 9 are scheduled to meet Monday to choose a replacement for Mansell. That person is expected to be Wayne Niederhauser, the winner of last month's GOP primary.
Mansell, 62, a former Senate president who served in the Legislature since 1994, said he was leaving now because there are too many other demands on his time. Those include several business ventures with his sons as well as his involvement with a new industrial loan bank.
"I decided it's probably the right time. I've been there 12 years," Mansell, the former head of the National Board of Realtors, said. "I've come to really enjoy being in the Senate. It has been a great experience for me. I do it with some mixed emotions."
Mansell said he has no plans to lobby the Legislature once he's gone, at least not professionally. "Not for a fee," he said. "I might come back and lobby something I care about as a citizen."
Although Mansell supported Niederhauser in the primary, he said his decision to step down was not made to boost his candidacy. Niederhauser faces another tough challenge in November, from Democrat Trisha Beck, a former House member.
"I think it will be a help," said Niederhauser, owner of a real estate management and development company. "It's not going to be the salvation. It's not going to be what makes or breaks the campaign."
Salt Lake County Republican Party Chairman James Evans said if Niederhauser is elected by delegates on Monday to fill out the remainder of Mansell's term, he'll go into the election with several months of Senate experience.
But Evans said, "Wayne doesn't need any extra help to win that seat. Senate District 9 is a solidly Republican Senate district." The party official said that Beck's "being somewhat well-known in the district doesn't' equate to being a strong candidate."
The primary race between Niederhauser and Bryson Garbett, a developer and owner of Garbett Homes, was the most costly legislative battle of the current election cycle, with spending by each candidate approaching $100,000.
Mansell's resignation takes effect at noon Wednesday, the next interim day of the Legislature. Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, who took over the leadership of the Senate from Mansell two years ago, said he will be missed."Al was a friend and a mentor," Valentine said, describing Mansell in a posting on the Senate majority's blog site as "sincerely caring about good public policy; being tough on the outside but having genuine compassion on the inside."
E-mail: [email protected]