A top House Republican is likely calling it quits this year as lawmakers begin to — or not to — file for reelection.
Rep. Tim Hawkes, R-Centerville, chair of the powerful House Rules Committee, says he does not plan to file for reelection. So far, six lawmakers have decided to call it quits in 2022.
Hawkes confirmed he was not running for a fifth term in 2022 on Monday evening but left the door slightly ajar if he changed his mind.
“While I’ve left a window open to reconsider, at present, I do not plan to file to run for reelection,” Hawkes said in a text message.
Monday was the first day for candidates to file to run ahead of November’s election. The filing period ends Friday at 5 p.m, so the clock is ticking if Hawkes does an about-face.
This is Hawkes’ fourth term in the legislature, first winning in 2014. Current House Majority Leader Mike Schultz, R-Hooper, was a part of Hawkes’ freshman class.
Hawkes had the arduous task of handling liquor bills for the House Majority during his tenure.
“I feel the need to pursue personal and professional opportunities that are just too hard to balance with continued legislative service. It’s been a great opportunity and privilege for me to represent the citizens in House District 18 for the past eight years,” Hawkes continued.
While Hawkes is the highest-profile retirement from the Utah Legislature so far, other lawmakers have announced they won’t be back in 2023.
Two Democrats announced they were leaving Capitol Hill.
Rep. Suzanne Harrison, D-Draper, announced Monday she was leaving the Legislature to run for the at-large Salt Lake County Council seat held by Republican Richard Snelgrove.
Harrison was a victim of redistricting. The GOP-controlled legislature eliminated the Draper district she has served for two terms and into the Republican district held by Rep. Jeff Stenquist, R-Draper.
In a text message to supporters, Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Salt Lake City, said Monday morning she had decided to retire after two terms. She was first elected in 2014 after serving on the Salt Lake County Council. She called her decision to leave office “both difficult and simple at the same time.”
“I can say with confidence that I have loved my service for the county and the state,” Iwamoto said.
Three other Republican legislators revealed their plan to retire from the Legislature before the 2022 session. Rep. Merrill Nelson, R-Grantsville, Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City and Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, all are not seeking running for their seats this year.