Deseret News
Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, (right) announced Wednesday on Facebook that he will not run for re-election.

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, announced Wednesday on Facebook that he will not run for re-election.

"To spare our wonderful community from the divisiveness of what could be a very contentious campaign, I have withdrawn from my House race," Powell said in a post on his personal Facebook page. "I wish the remaining candidates the best of luck in the upcoming election."

Powell was first elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 2008. He currently serves on the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, House Natural Resources Committee, House Political Subdivisions Committee and is chairman of the House Retirement and Independent Entities Committee.

UtahPolicy.com reported Tuesday that Powell promised to fight the Utah Republican Party's efforts to disqualify him from the ballot if they were to try to do so because he gathered signatures under a new controversial election law.

U.S. District Judge David Nuffer found that the law allowing Republican candidates to choose to access the primary election ballot by either signature gathering, or through Utah’s more traditional caucus and convention route, or both, does not impair the party's constitutional rights but is a legitimate exercise of the state’s power to regulate elections.

All other Republican legislative candidates, including those who have gathered signatures, have entered their respective election races through the party's caucus system, UtahPolicy.com reported.

The Utah Republican Party had sued the state twice over SB54, the new law that allows for signature gathering as a path to the primary election ballot.

— Ben Lockhart