Salt Lake State GOP drops Natalie Cline, Bollinger to replace her on the ballot

Salt Lake State GOP drops Natalie Cline, Bollinger to replace her on the ballot

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Natalie Cline has dropped out of the Republican Primary after Saturday’s vote.

The Salt Lake County Republican Party Nominating Convention ended Saturday afternoon with a definitive answer to the future of the controversial board member Natalie Cline. Delegates overwhelmingly supported his challenger, Amanda Bollinger, who received 63 percent of the vote to Cline’s 36.8 percent, making Bollinger the Republican nominee.

When announcing his candidacy in January, Cline did not file a petition to collect signatures. He will continue to serve on the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) until the end of the term.

Cline made his final argument to delegates this afternoon, using the opportunity to defend his record.

“I have fought and will continue to fight to protect the children of our state,” Cline said. “And I have fulfilled that promise at great personal cost to me.”

Cline was elected as a USBE board member in 2020. While serving on the board, she faced backlash on several occasions, most recently in February after she posted on social media appearing to question whether a high school student was transgender.

The incident led to USBE condemning his behavior and several Utah officials calling for his resignation. At the time, Cline responded by removing the post and to ask for forgiveness for “the negative attention that my post attracted to innocent students and their families.”

However, a week after the event he said he was being “harassed” and USBE and “difficult criminals to get the best process.” He decided to seek re-election saying the incident was an effort to damage his reputation with voters.

Gov. Cox and Lt. Gov. Henderson, who during the controversy said Cline has “embarrassed the state of Utah,” contributed to Bollinger’s campaign. Cox gave $5,000 and Henderson gave $1,000.

Bollinger said the vote is a step to make people believe in public education again.

“It means that people care about children and people are willing to trust me to put public education faith in our system,” he said.

ABC4 reached out to Natalie Cline for comment but has not yet heard back.