Why these Cache County Republicans won’t see a challenger in their 2024 election bids for clerk and auditor

Bryson Behm will take over Cache County’s clerk/auditor after his opponent in the race withdrew ahead of a vote Saturday. He doesn’t have an opponent in November’s clerk election.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bryson Behm, Cache County's new interim clerk/auditor, photographed at the old county courthouse in Logan, on Tuesday, April 2, 2024. Behm won't GOP delegations nomination on Saturday and won't face a challenger in November's clerk's office election.

Logan • Cache County Republicans chose an interim clerk/auditor on Saturday and nominated two candidates who will appear alone on November’s general election ballots.

Bryson Behm will take over the clerk/auditor’s office after months of turmoil in the county office. Behm told The Salt Lake Tribune that he felt shocked, but was grateful that delegates and his one-time opponent placed their faith in him to handle Cache County’s elections.

“It’s really important that I have their trust, as well as other citizens, just to make sure that they believe the election will be run fairly and safely,” Behm said. “I’m the guy that can do it.”

Behm said he was told he will be sworn in on Tuesday during a Cache County Council meeting.

Just minutes before walking on stage at the Mount Logan Middle School on Saturday, Behm’s opponent in the interim clerk/auditor race, Dirk Anderson, told Behm he would concede. Anderson told delegates the county is in good hands with Behm in the clerk’s office.

“Bryson is going to do a great job on the election side, and I absolutely know that everyone in the county will rise up and support him on the finance side too, so we’re going to be fine,” Anderson said.

Behm’s tenure in county government likely won’t be temporary, as delegates nominated him as the sole candidate in November’s county clerk election. The Republican doesn’t have a challenger for the elected office this fall. He served as the interim clerk/auditor last year.

The Cache County Council voted last fall to bifurcate the clerk/auditor office.

Prior to votes kicking off Saturday, Cache County Republican Party Chair Geoff Cox said Behm’s opponent in the GOP primary for clerk’s race, Sebastian Luu, withdrew the previous evening.

Anderson has been chief deputy to Cache County Executive David Zook since March 2022, according to his campaign website. Before that, he worked as a school teacher and budget analyst in several states.

Anderson also ran for the new county auditor’s office but lost in the first round of voting to Matthew Funk and Dianna Schaeffer. Funk is a certified public accountant and former justice court judge. Schaeffer is a tax administration supervisor for Cache County.

In a second round of votes, Funk garnered 74% of the vote — surpassing the 70% threshold needed to move him past the primary election and directly to the November general election. No other candidates have filed to run for auditor.

In March, clerk/auditor David Benson resigned from office roughly a month after the Utah lieutenant governor’s office outlined over 30 issues with how Benson and the clerk’s office ran the county’s 2023 elections.

Other notable Cache County races

Delegates chose Taylor Sorensen as the GOP nominee for county attorney, defeating challenger Cameron Cox. Sorensen earned 70.1% of the delegate vote, meaning he will bypass a primary election and head to November’s general election.

Sorensen is the interim Cache County attorney, a position he took over in January following the resignation of the previous interim, Dane Murray. Cox is a Cache County public defender, and he was an attorney in Texas prior to moving to Utah, according to his campaign website.

Earlier this year, Terryl Warner, the director of Cache County’s Victim Services Division, accused Cox of sending her threatening text messages over her support of Sorensen. Cox said he did send the text messages, but the messages were not intended to be threatening.

Later in the day Saturday, delegates preferred Jason Thompson for the Utah House District 3 seat, earning 68.9% of the vote. He bested Paul Borup, who is still eligible for the June primary, as Thompson fell just short of the 70% threshold.

The primary election winner will face Patrick Belmont — an unaffiliated candidate who has previously ran as a Democrat — in November to replace the exiting state Rep. Dan Johnson, who announced his retirement earlier this year. On Feb. 26, Johnson suffered a medical episode on the Utah House floor and returned to the legislature later that week.

Thompson, who received Johnson’s endorsement, currently serves as the mayor of River Heights. Borup was a member of the Cache County Council from 2018 to 2022 before he opted against running for reelection.

In an upset for a Cache County Council seat, newcomer Keegan Garrity defeated incumbent Karl Ward for Logan Seat 1. Garrity earned 70.8% of the vote, meaning Ward’s time on the council will end in January.

“The delegates have chosen the candidate they want to represent them, and I’m fine with that,” Ward said after the vote. “I felt like I’ve done my best over the last seven-plus years.”

Todd Holland, a precinct chair in Logan, later proposed a resolution to terminate Utah’s membership in the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC.

The organization helps election officials manage their voter rolls. ERIC is “the only way we can tell if Utah voters are also registered to vote in another (member) state,” Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said in a social media post on Saturday.

After Holland detailed the resolution, party chair Geoff Cox said a quorum was not present and any vote on the resolution wouldn’t hold any privileges. Delegates motioned to adjourn the convention before a vote could be done.

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