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Rolly: Former Utah legislator is in wrong place at wrong time — again

Published August 11, 2014 7:18 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Former Rep. Craig Frank has shown time and time again that he would love to get back into the Legislature. But when it comes to meeting residency requirements, he might have the worst timing of any politician in recent memory.

Frank was about as gung-ho a right-wing tea party lawmaker as anyone in Utah's Capitol Hill. He often boasted of his libertarianism and anti-big-government passion on Facebook.

He was a tireless champion of education reforms that favored public charter schools while his wife, Kim, was a lobbyist for the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools.

When Frank was a member of the Patrick Henry Caucus, he proffered the idea that the group could make some money by selling Patrick Henry tokens, trinkets and charter memberships.

Then came the first of several gaffes involving Frank's residency that disqualified him as a legislator.

Frank represented District 57, which covered his hometown of Pleasant Grove. But when he moved to his new home in nearby Cedar Hills in 2010, he unwittingly moved out of the district.

That error was discovered months later and, alas, Frank had to resign his House seat. He was replaced in a special election by well-known conservative blogger Holly Richardson.

Then, after a short House stint, Richardson resigned the seat to work on the failed U.S. Senate campaign of Dan Liljenquist, who left his state Senate seat to challenge longtime Sen. Orrin Hatch for the Republican nomination.

This is where the residency thing got really confusing for Frank.

When Richardson resigned, Frank ran to replace her in another special election. He was able to do so because after he had earlier resigned, the Legislature put his Cedar Hills home back in the district.

Frank was elected to the seat by the delegates and served in the 2012 Legislature. But he would have to defend his seat in the general election later that year. Because of redistricting in 2011, the Cedar Hills home would again be outside the district for the general election of 2012.

So Frank moved back to Pleasant Grove, which was retained in that district even after redistricting, but it turned out he would not have lived in the house long enough to meet the residency requirements by the time he would have to file for the seat.

He met that dilemma by retaining his residency in Cedar Hills, serving that one session in the House while he still qualified, and then running against his mentor, Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, whose Senate district covered Pleasant Grove and Cedar Hills.

Valentine defeated Frank at the GOP convention, and Frank has been on the outside ever since, dabbling in lobbying and charter school advocacy.

This brings us to the latest chapter in bad timing.

Frank and his wife recently closed on a condominium in Provo, which is in Sen. Curt Bramble's district.

The couple closed on that condo just days before Valentine announced he was leaving the Senate to head the Utah Tax Commission. Now there is an opening for that Senate seat — but Frank doesn't live there anymore.

prolly@sltrib.com —






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