Nathan Ivie, the Utah county commissioner who came out as gay last year, will need to find a gig. Ivie suffered a sound defeat in a primary election last week.
Ivie came out in 2019 as a way of showing the world that a gay man could be accepted within ultra-conservative Utah. Apparently, he misread the state’s attitudes toward LGBTQ people.
“Absolutely, my sexuality was part of the issue. There’s no doubt,” Ivie told reporters last week. “I can’t tell you the number of hate emails I received. I didn’t make an issue out of it in the campaign because that’s not the kind of person I am. But there is no doubt that the Eagle Forum [a conservative group] and its lies were absolutely in play here. The hit pieces it ran on my stance on abortion were completely false and it’s disappointing, but it’s politics.”
Ivie lost to a conservative challenger, former Marine Lt. Col. Tom Sakievich, by a 60.4% to 39.6% margin according to The Salt Lake Tribune. Prior to his coming out, Ivie separated from his wife. The two have two children together.
Though Ivie claims he lost as a result of homophobia, others, including Sakievich, cite a tax increase as the real reason for his loss. Late last year, he voted for a 67% property tax increase which remains deeply unpopular with voters. Ivie has defended the vote, claiming the real-world cost of the increase would be less than a monthly subscription to Netflix.
Though he has accepted defeat, Ivie has expressed worry that the Republican party doesn’t do enough to welcome queer people. “I want to be someplace where the things I believe in are celebrated. It’s certainly not the Democratic party. I’m becoming more and concerned it’s not the Republican party,” he told WTOP News.