Kristin Murphy
FILE - Jim Bennett, the United Utah Party's candidate to replace former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz in the 3rd Congressional District, talks to members of the media outside of the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge Thursday permanently barred Utah from failing to include United Utah Party nominee Jim Bennett from the 3rd Congressional District special election ballot.

U.S. District Judge David Nuffer also awarded the party $115,000 in attorney fees incurred in its lawsuit against the state.

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The fledgling United Utah Party sued Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who oversees state elections, after his office rejected Bennett's attempt to file as a candidate because officials had not certified the party. Nuffer sided with the party.

In his ruling, the judge noted GOP dominance in the state, saying all the decisions about how to handle the election to replace former GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz were made by Republicans. Failure to include the United Utah Party would deny voters an important choice, he said.

The state complied with the Aug. 2 ruling and placed Bennett on the special election ballot.