Commissioner came out as his state’s first openly gay elected Republican last year. He said it’s ‘absolutely’ the reason why he was just booted from office

Gay Utah County commissioner Nathan Ivie. (Screen capture via Twitter)

An American gay commissioner who lost a local government election feels the reason he failed to win was “absolutely” because he is gay.

Utah County Commissioner Nathan Ivie, 40, who came out as the state’s first openly gay elected Republican last year, was one of a volley of locality incumbents to be booted from office.

As Deseret News reported, Ivie lost with a tepid 39.5 per cent to Tom Sakievich, who netted 60 per cent of the vote.

Reflecting on the loss, Ivie told the outlet that his sexuality was no doubt the reason he lost. Failing to court Utah’s predominantly conservative voting bloc, he claimed critics “ran a very false narrative about me, my family, and particularly my stance on abortion”.

Gay commissioner opens up about being called a ‘perversion’ during campaign trail.

“It’s hard to combat those things,” he said.

The politician opened up about the backlash he suffered as a result from coming out on Twitter. Responding to a user, he wrote: “Do you know what it’s like to almost daily get messages or calls telling you you’re a perversion, sinful, bringing the destruction of our society, that it’s too bad you didn’t succeed on your suicide attempt as it would have been better than to live authentic?

County Commissioner Tanner Ainge, an ally of Ivie, echoed the denouncement of the targeted homophobia Ivie faced. “The dishonesty of those opposing him deserves to be called out and the hate mail is appalling,” she tweeted.

Ivie has long been transparent about his mental health, both in an out of campaigns. After coming out publicly in a YouTube video, he recounted attempting suicide at the age of 22.

“There’s no easy way to say this,” he said in the video, titled, “A day to be honest”.

“I might as well just jump up and say it, I’m gay. That’s my reality.”

He added: “I’ve come to accept while I may be different, I’m still a loving person, worthy of love, who values others and hopes to be valued. I’m as committed today as I’ve ever been to my faith, family and freedom.”

Ivie had previously bagged the Republican nomination for the Utah County Commission seat with nearly 59 per cent of the vote in 2016. The following general election, he won the seat with 81 per cent.