POLITICS & ELECTIONS

Salt Lake County Republicans will decide the political future of Natalie Cline

Apr 12, 2024, 4:15 PM | Updated: 4:36 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — On Saturday, a few hundred Republicans in Salt Lake County will decide the political future of Utah State Board of Education member Natalie Cline.

Cline is not gathering signatures to secure a spot on June’s primary ballot, meaning that in order for her to move on in her race, she has to win at least 40% of the delegate votes at the Salt Lake County GOP convention on Saturday.

Salt Lake County GOP Chair Chris Null said Cline and her challenger Amanda Bollinger haven’t really made Cline’s controversial post about a female high school athlete a campaign issue among delegates.

Utah state school board condemns Natalie Cline’s Facebook post about student-athlete

“The feeling that I’m getting from both of them is they’re focused on the issues of the day, which that’s no longer an issue of the day,” Null said. “Now they’re interested in, you know, how is the education system going to continue here in Utah.”

Bollinger said she doesn’t think it’s a topic for her to use in this campaign.

“That’s not why I’m running,” Bollinger said. “I’m running because I really believe that I can make a difference in education for our state of Utah. And it’s something that I feel passionately about.”

In February, Cline posted on her Facebook account what appeared to be a question about the gender of a high school athlete.

Parents of female student-athlete at the center of controversy call on school board member to resign

The post caused a firestorm of criticisms, calls to resign, and denouncement from Utah lawmakers. The Utah House and Senate censured Cline, and the USBE voted to strip her of board powers.

Cline announced she would run for re-election and returned to USBE meetings a month after the post.

KSL has contacted Cline multiple times for comment about her race and the post, but she has not responded.

Natalie Cline braces to defend herself, decries harassment by Utah Board of Education

Salt Lake County mayoral race

Meanwhile, the delegates in Salt Lake County have another big decision to make. They’ll pick which Republican will move on to try to unseat Democratic County Mayor Jenny Wilson.

“There are two candidates that are, again, very strong,” Null said. “I think they I think they’re both doing fantastic.”

One candidate is Erin Rider, who challenged Chris Stewart for his seat two years ago before he left office. Yianni “John” Ioannou is from Cyprus; his father is the mayor of their village.

Neither of the candidates gathered signatures for the primary ballot.

The convention will also determine whether there is a Republican primary for a county-wide seat on the Salt Lake County Council and who has a primary in several state legislative races.

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Salt Lake County Republicans will decide the political future of Natalie Cline