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October 15, 2021

Utah Democratic Party chairman Jeffrey Merchant resigning due to health reasons

Utah Democratic Party chairman Jeff Merchant is seen in this undated file photo. Merchant will resign later this month due to personal health reasons, the party announced Thursday. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Democratic Party Chairman Jeffrey Merchant will step down later this month due to personal health reasons, the party announced Thursday.

Merchant will step down from party affairs on Sept. 29, and current Vice Chair Diane Lewis will become acting chairwoman, according to a statement from the state Democratic party.

“It has been among the greatest joys of my life to serve Utahns as your state party chair,” Merchant said in the statement. “While today I humbly offer my resignation in order to attend to my personal health, the work that must be done in our state and across our nation to protect our most vulnerable communities will continue on.”

Lewis lives in West Jordan and has previously worked as a union representative for Laborers’ International Union of North America, according to her biography on the Democratic party’s website.

“I know that I leave the party in good hands with Diane Lewis, who will become acting chair until confirmed by the Central Committee,” Merchant said. “Diane is a storied leader in our state’s labor movement and Democratic Party, and I believe that under Diane’s leadership, our party will continue to build on the gains that we have made in 2020.”

Merchant, an attorney and small business owner, had served in the role since 2019.

“I’m excited for this new chapter for the party and will remain a staunch supporter of our mission and our organizing,” he said.

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