Utah school board member who questioned a student's gender loses party nomination for reelection

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A conservative Utah State Board of Education member who faced calls to resign after lawmakers said she bullied a student on social media lost her nomination for reelection Saturday.

Natalie Cline needed at least 40% of the delegate votes at the Salt Lake County Republican Convention, but she fell short of that threshold Saturday. She faced Jordan School District administrator Amanda Bollinger, who won sufficient support to become the party nominee in that school board race.

Unlike Bollinger, Cline did not gather voter signatures — a backdoor path to appear on Utah’s primary ballot in June if a candidate doesn’t win their party’s nomination. The deadline to collect signatures has passed.

Cline had faced backlash from Republicans and Democrats after her social media post questioning the gender of a high school basketball player prompted threats against the girl. Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox said Cline's actions embarrassed the state, and the Legislature formally censured her but allowed her to stay in office without any real power.

Cline announced in late February that she would seek reelection.

In a Facebook post before Saturday's vote, Cline said she has been “on call night and day for the last 3+ years and I have answered those endless cries for help from parents and teachers who are sick to their stomachs with what they are seeing first hand in their schools!”

She said she had done “all in my power and more with God as my helper and the growing army of concerned citizens that are saying enough is enough!”

A message seeking comment was sent to Cline via social media.