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Garn’s resignation is the second for a Utah Republican legislative leader in the past three months. Senate Majority Leader Sheldon Killpack resigned from the senate in January following his arrest for driving under the influence.

Utah Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Holland said his party will highlight recent ethical shortcomings of state Republicans, including former GOP state lawmaker Mark Walker’s guilty plea last year to a misdemeanor charge.

That case stemmed from allegations Walker tried to get his competitor in the 2008 state treasurer’s race to drop out by offering him a raise.

“It’s just an ongoing pattern of bad behavior where Utah looks like we’re trying to compete with South Carolina,” Holland said. “Voters this fall are going to go into a voting booth with a different attitude about electing people beyond labels that they think share their values.”

But Utah Republican Party Chairman Dave Hansen said the party will bounce back. Republicans typically win strong support from Utah voters: In the 2008 presidential election, for example, Sen. John McCain received 62.6 percent of the vote.

“I would’ve preferred neither one of them had happened, obviously, but they did,” Hansen said of the Garn and Killpack resignations. “But I don’t think in the long run it’s going to have any effect.”