CEDAR HILLS, Utah County — Two Cedar Hills candidates were disqualified from their races Friday, essentially deciding the city's mayor and City Council races just days away from Election Day.
Mayoral candidate Curt Crosby and City Council candidate Maurice Fernando Navarro were disqualified for failing to complete their required campaign finance disclosures on time, according to a news release issued by Cedar Hills on Friday.
Their disqualifications likely solidify their opponents' wins.
Crosby's opponent, Cedar Hills Councilwoman Jenney Rees, was the only other mayoral candidate (current Mayor Gary Gygi did not run for re-election). Because there were only three council candidates on the ballot for two open seats, Navarro's disqualification likely solidifies incumbent Denise Andersen and Ben Ellsworth's spots on the Cedar Hills City Council.
"It's an unfortunate situation that happened, but state code is clear for how you handle these things," said Cedar Hills City Manager Chandler Goodwin, adding that his office consulted with the Utah Lieutenant Governor's Office and the city's legal counsel before disqualifying the candidates.
State law requires campaign finance disclosures to be filed seven days prior to the election, and failure to do so results in disqualification. According to online disclosure reports, Crosby filed his on Nov. 1, one day late. Navarro dated his on Oct. 31, but the office also received it a day late.
"It's unfortunate," Navarro said, adding that he had been sick on Oct. 31 and he "overlooked" the deadline. "I'll never make the same mistake again. Live and learn, right?"
Crosby said it was a busy holiday weekend before the deadline so he also overlooked the date — but he expressed frustration that clerical deadlines prevent candidates from running for office.
"I'm disappointed — but I'm also disappointed in our whole system the way it is," Crosby said. "You've got to sign up to run for office months ahead of time, and if you don't do every little thing, you're just disqualified. I don't think it would have been that way back in the early days of our country."
Rees, Cedar Hill's sole remaining mayoral candidate, called the situation "unfortunate," but city officials' hands are tied by state law.1 comment on this story
"I love the opportunity for voters to be able to choose candidates through the voting process," Rees said. "But at the same time, I understand and respect that state laws are there for a purpose, and we're all required to abide by them. I would believe the state has requirements for campaign finance disclosure due dates for a reason when it comes to voting."
Even though the races are essentially decided, Colleen A. Mulvey, the city's election officer, urged voters to still vote in Tuesday's election, noting that they can still vote on Proposition 7, which asks whether or not the city should impose a sales and use tax for cultural arts, recreational and botanical organizations or facilities.