SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Congressional District 2 hopeful Celeste Maloy (R) faces a new challenge after a lawsuit was filed petitioning for her to be removed as a candidate in the upcoming special election.

The motion was filed by R. Quin Denning (R), a Washington County resident who campaigned for the Congressional District 2 seat before losing the nomination for the primary election to Maloy.

In his lawsuit, Denning forwarded Utah State Legislator findings that Maloy was not registered with the Republican party as a voter at the time she filed to run for Chris Stewart’s soon-to-be-vacant seat. Denning further alleges Maloy had not yet established residency in Utah by the time of her filing, making her ineligible to represent the state.

“This is a big issue,” Denning told ABC4. “It’s being talked about across the nation. It’s not just a local issue, but we’ve got to have people that will stand up locally because that’s where the change starts.”

According to Utah State Code, a candidate is unable to file a declaration of candidacy for a registered party they are not a member of.

Maloy was previously registered as a Republican voter but became “inactive.” The Utah State Legislator’s investigation found that Maloy was removed from current voter registration because she did not respond to the notice of her inactive status.

When Maloy declared her candidacy with the Republican party for the Congressional District 2 seat on June 12, she was still not a registered Republican voter. Three days after her filing, Maloy updated her information and was registered as Republican by June 16.

Denning’s lawsuit petitions that the timeline of her voter registration makes her ineligible to declare candidacy.

“In a nutshell, this is simply about election integrity,” said Denning. “I was a candidate for Congress, and I was surprised when the story came out that [Maloy] wasn’t a Republican at the time of her declaration of candidacy. That was a responsibility that I felt was advocated by our Lieutenant Governor and it shouldn’t have been. [Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson] should’ve done something about that and it was brushed under the rug.”

ABC4 reached out to Maloy for comment, who said the lawsuit has been nothing more than a distraction and that the Republican Party made its decision. Maloy also said Utahns deserve a representative who is focused on doing the work and not playing political games.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson declined to comment on the ongoing litigation.

Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson’s Office said in late June that Maloy “met every lawful and constitutional qualification” to declare candidacy. Following the Legislator’s investigation, Speaker Brad Wilson and President J. Stewart Adams said that there was no immediate process to challenge Maloy’s candidacy except through the courts.

Denning said he doesn’t have anything against Maloy or Lt. Gov. Henderson personally, but he does take issue with the process. Denning fears that without free, fair and transparent elections, the nation is doomed.

“I wish the process was different,” explained Denning. “If it was different then I might be able to support [Maloy] and her run for Congress. If there was transparency, if things would’ve been done properly, but at this point, I don’t feel that I can because things weren’t done properly. It’s the process that I’m upset about. Not the individual.”