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Democratic Party chairman candidate Rob Miller drops out of race

Rob Miller announced his decision to withdraw from the race for Utah Democratic Party chairman early Friday morning.
Rob Miller announced his decision to withdraw from the race for Utah Democratic Party chairman early Friday morning.
Alex Goodlett, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Rob Miller announced early Thursday on Facebook that he's dropping out of the race for Utah Democratic Party chairman and will become an unaffiliated voter.

"It's time for new blood. There are three qualified women running, and I like the men, too," Miller said in the post, which did not specifically address the allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Miller has denied any wrongdoing and has blamed the accusations on his political opponents. Eight candidates remain in the race to succeed outgoing Utah Democratic Party Chairman Peter Corroon.

The allegations against Miller surfaced in a May 25 letter to party officials from seven women with ties to the Democratic Party that said Miller had "a long, varied and regrettable history" of actions against women.

Miller's actions, the letter said, included approaching one of the women with his pants pulled down, as well as kissing women on the lips, hugging a female colleague tightly and grabbing a woman's buttocks without consent.

"His withdrawing from the race allows these women to move on and to be able to heal from this series of incidents, the entire spectacle this has become," said Dan Spencer, an attorney representing the women.

Spencer said he is not aware of any further action contemplated against Miller. He said the women now hope to see the Democratic Party establish procedures for these types of incidents to be reported in "a safe and preferably anonymous way."

The attorney said the women he represents did not want their complaint to become public because they were concerned it would be dismissed as a political stunt and potentially silence others from coming forward in the future.

Spencer said he could say "unequivocably that was not the case" and that none of the candidates was behind the letter, as Miller has suggested. Miller's Facebook post refers to "three qualified women" in the race, although four are running.

Miller's announcement he was leaving the race and the Democratic Party followed a protest Monday at a debate among the contenders for the party post that will be decided at the Democrats' state convention on June 17.

Before the debate, the party's judiciary committee met to consider whether there should be a formal review of allegations made against Miller but did not announce a decision.

Corroon, who sits on the committee, said in a statement that members voted to close its proceedings to investigate but that its final report will be made public. He asked that the "privacy of these deliberations" be respected.

However, now that Miller has said he is leaving the Democratic Party, it is not clear whether there is any disciplinary action that can be taken against him.