Chris Stewart, a six-term Republican, and U.S. Air Force veteran, sparked a rush to fill his seat when he revealed in May that he was stepping down due to his wife’s illness. After ten years in office, he intends to quit on September 15.
Trump critic takes an early lead in a Utah congressional primary
A tight contest that will likely yield the successor to U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart was left too early to call on Tuesday due to a clear urban-rural divide in the Utah special congressional primary between a Donald Trump supporter and critic.
The election was anticipated to provide a glimpse into Republican supporters’ attitudes on several indictments brought against the former president as he runs for re-election.
After Edwards seized the lead in early voting in urban areas on Tuesday, Maloy pulled ahead through votes from rural voters; this lead grew on Wednesday.
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Trump supporter Maloy surpassed Edwards, a Trump critic, who had been leading in two urban counties with support from the rest of the vast district, which runs from the northern part of the Salt Lake City area to cover much of southern and western Utah.
By Tuesday at midnight, Maloy had a lead of nearly 1,400 votes, or about a 2 percentage point advantage. In previous elections, Utah has left roughly 30% of the votes to be counted in the days following the election rather than counting them altogether on election day.
Edwards called an election night party in Salt Lake City to an end and abruptly thanked supporters after watching her early advantage vanish. Edwards said Maloy is optimistic but would have to wait for additional vote tallying.
Thousands more mail-in ballots will still be counted over the following two weeks. The majority of votes are cast by mail in Utah, and as long as they are postmarked before election day, they can arrive as late as September 19 and still be counted.
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Maloy said she felt optimistic, although it was too close to call. She emphasized her advantage in the district’s rural areas after saying to KUTV earlier in the night that rural Utah feels “under-represented.”
Maloy stated, “As we predicted, southern and rural Utah came in strong. We ran a positive race focused on policy and issues, and that clearly resonated with the voters. While victory is not yet at hand, we are confident a conservative from the district will represent CD-2.”
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In the special general election on November 21, the GOP winner in the reliably Republican area will be the favorite against Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Riebe.
The winning candidate would become the only female member of Utah’s congressional delegation and just the fifth in the state’s history.
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