Utah voters will choose between a former Republican congressman and a Democratic senator in a special election Tuesday to replace Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, who recently resigned.
Competing are Republican Celeste Maloy, who is Stewart’s former chief lawyer, and state Sen. Kathleen Riebe, who as minority whip is the No. 2 Democrat in the state Senate. to become the first woman in Utah’s congressional delegation since 2019 and only the fifth. in history.
Maloy, a southern Nevada native and southwest Utah resident, is the heavy favorite in the Republican-leaning 2nd Congressional District, which stretches from southern and western Utah to Salt Lake City. The winner will join the state’s three other Republican members in the House of Representatives. The state’s two U.S. senators are also Republicans.
Maloy has campaigned on improving security at the U.S.-Mexico border, reining in what she calls “out of control” federal spending, protecting religious freedom and giving Utah more control over the natural resources of its federal lands.
She highlighted her experience working for Stewart during an Oct. 26 debate with Riebe.
“I worked for this district. I solved problems that people in this district called their congressman and asked them for help with,” Maloy said during the debate. “Congress is in trouble right now. Things aren’t going well and we really need someone who knows how Congress works.”
Originally from Long Island and living in Cottonwood Heights, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Riebe campaigned on her experience as a teacher. She promised on her website to continue teaching five days a week while campaigning for more affordable housing, support for unions and public education based on “student needs and community values.”
“I’m very in touch with my families across the state. I have worked to understand the impact of our policies on their family lives,” Riebe said during the debate with Maloy.
Maloy dominated fundraising, bringing in nearly $600,000 and spending more than three-quarters of it in the seven months before the election. Riebe brought in half that amount and spent about 90 percent, according to candidates’ reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.
The most recent woman to represent Utah in the United States House of Representatives was Mia Love, who served from 2015 to 2019 and was the state’s first Black congresswoman.
A six-term congressman and U.S. Air Force veteran, Stewart sparked a Republican rush to fill his seat after announcing in May that he was resigning to care for his ailing wife.
Maloy rode a surge of rural support to win a special three-way Republican primary on September 5, defeating former state Rep. Becky Edwards and businessman Bruce Hough.
There was no Democratic primary after Riebe was the first to gain votes at a Democratic convention and unopposed for her party’s nomination.
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