CACHE COUNTY – As of the morning of Mar. 27, Bryson Behm is the only local candidate who has filed to run for the elective office of County Clerk/Auditor in the Republican Special Election slated for April 13.

Does that mean his only remaining competitor in the later general election – candidate Sebastian Luu – isn’t eager to take on the responsibility of the clerk’s role prior to the November election, particularly not with officials of Utah’s lieutenant governor’s office watching his every move like hawks?

That’s how Behm sees it.

“The (clerk’s) office has been in the news too much lately,” Behm said in a Mar. 26 interview. “What the office needs is stability right now and my experience will bring that stability back.”

Much of the recent news about the Cache County Clerk/Auditor’s office has been uniformly bad.

In October of 2023, the Cache County Council voted to split the responsibilities of the Clerk/Auditors office, an elective post that has been combined for a decade.

Following last fall’s municipal election, clerk’s office personnel had to conduct a recount with three of its key employees sidelined on administrative leave.

In February, state officials issued a highly critical report on the county’s handling of that election. The office of Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson cited 31 issues where Clerk/Auditor David Benson had fallen short of “statutory obligations” of his office, including falsifying a logic and accuracy test of voting tabulation equipment and failing to maintain an accurate chain of custody of election ballots.

As a consequence of that report and an investigation by the County Attorney ‘s office, former election supervisor Dustin Hansen is now facing criminal charges.

In early March, Benson resigned from his elective post, citing a need to address “family health issues.”

Behm had been the chief deputy and election supervisor in the administration of former Clerk/Auditor Jess Bradfield, who resigned in June of 2023.

“I’m the only one in the race that has done a presidential election, a municipal election and a mid-term election,” Behm explains. “So I understand all the intricacies of the role and I’m the only one ready and willing to do it right now.”

In the event that Behm wins the April 13 GOP special election by acclamation – which now seems likely – he’ll still face the delicate situation of dealing with the upcoming general election in which he’ll be running again.

“Yeah, I’ll have to recuse myself,” Behm acknowledges. “So I may not be able to actually touch a ballot or run ballots through the tabulation machines, but I will be right there telling the clerk’s staff what to do.”

In an early March “mea culpa” meeting with local residents, Benson claimed that the “lion’s share” of the 31 problem areas in the report from the lieutenant governor’s office were issues that he inherited from the former clerk/auditor.

Behm politely scoffs at that excuse.

“We’d done five elections (under former clerk Bradfield),” he points out, “and the lieutenant governor’s office didn’t have an issue with any of them. We never got audited, because we did everything right.”

The filing period for candidates seeking the clerk/auditor’s position in the April 13 special election will close at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, according to Geoff Cox, the chair of the Cache County Republican Party.



Source link

Leave a Reply