SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The longest-serving member of the Utah Legislature has been ousted, months after sponsoring a controversial tax-overhaul bill.
Republican Sen. Lyle Hillyard of Logan conceded the race to the Deseret News on Wednesday. He had held the seat for nearly 40 years.
Republican businessman Chris Wilson has captured more than 60% of the GOP primary vote.
“I really feel a great deal of pride and appreciation in the fact I’ve been able to represent this area for 36 years in the Senate,” Hillyard said. “I think I’ve made a difference in the state and the area here as well. Sorry I lost, I was really surprised.”
Hillyard said he plans to carry out the rest of his term and will continue to do local community service.
Wilson thanked Hillyard for his years of service and said his experience as a businessman will help grow the economy and get people back to work after the coronavirus pandemic.
Hillyard had previously sponsored a bill that had the support of state leaders to shore up a shrinking sales-tax base, but included increases on food and gas that proved so unpopular that the Legislature was forced to repeal it under threat of a referendum in January.