Who’s who? KSL’s candidate guide to the midterms
Utah has four seats in the US House of Representatives up for election in the 2018 midterms, as well as one Senate seat (as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, retires). Here is a look at each candidate and their platforms.
- Mitt Romney (Republican Party): Mitt Romney is the former director of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, former governor of Massachusetts, and the Republican Party nominee in the 2012 presidential election. Romney describes himself on the state’s elections website as a “deficit hawk,” a believer in states’ rights, and a man of family values. He went to Brigham Young University and currently lives in Holliday. You can read more about his background and policy positions on his campaign website.
- Jenny Wilson (Democratic Party): Jenny Wilson is the former Chief of Staff to Utah’s U.S. Congressman Bill Orton and a senior leader on the Salt Lake Olympic Games staff. She is currently serving her second term on the Salt Lake County Council. Wilson’s profile on the state elections website promises to support working families, accessible healthcare and immigration reform. Wilson is a 5th generation Utahan and University of Utah graduate who lives in Salt Lake City. You can learn more about Wilson and her campaign on her website.
- Craig Bowden (Libertarian Party): Craig Bowden is a small business owner and former U.S. Marine who is active in the Libertarian Party at the county and national levels. Bowden’s state website profile emphasizes his stance on criminal justice reform, government spending and a defensive military. He graduated from Weber State University and lives in North Ogden. You can read more about Bowden and his politics on his website.
- Tim Aalders (Constitution Party): Tim Aalders is a small business owner and former talk radio host. He describes himself on his state website profile as “the only conservative Republican” in Utah’s senate race, and promises on his personal website to advocate against illegal immigration, the Affordable Care Act, and Roe v. Wade. Aalders lives in American Fork.
- Reed McCandless (Independent American Party): Reed McCandless does not have a profile on the state elections website, but describes himself on his personal website as “a former Republican, until 2014, whereupon he discovered the truth about 9/11.” He is campaigning on a platform that condemns government corruption, mandatory vaccinations and Utah’s strict alcohol laws.
HOUSE DISTRICT 1:
- Rob Bishop (Republican Party): Rob Bishop has represented Utah’s 1st district since 2003. His campaign website focuses on securing the military budget, reducing federal influence and fostering energy independence, and his state website profile specifically notes his support for Hill Air Force Base and the 2nd amendment. Bishop lives in Brigham City.
- Lee Castillo (Democratic Party): Lee Castillo is a therapist at the Utah State Hospital. His state elections profile parlays this into politics, reading “that’s what I do for work – care and fight for people.” Castillo’s campaign website, titled Utah is for Everybody, focuses on issues like Social Security and Medicare, public lands issues and net neutrality. Castillo graduated from the University of Utah and lives in Layton.
- Adam Davis (Green Party): Adam Davis is an enterprise software consultant. His profile on the state’s election hub promises to “remake our economy with workers at the center.” His campaign website includes provisions on environmental protections, election reform and tribal sovereignty. Davis lives in Layton.
- Eric Eliason (United Utah Party): Eric Eliason is an investor and business professor at Utah State University. His state profile says he is running with the intent to reduce partisan gridlock and find solutions that Republicans and Democrats alike have failed to find. Eliason’s campaign website outlines his stance on government reform, fiscal accountability and reducing healthcare costs. He graduated from Brigham Young University and lives in Logan.
HOUSE DISTRICT 2:
- Chris Stewart (Republican Party): Chris Stewart has been representing Utah’s 2nd district since 2012. He is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and former Air Force pilot. His elections website profile warns of international threats and the decline of political civility. Stewart’s campaign website addresses tax reform, military intelligence and illegal immigration. Stewart graduated from Utah State University and lives in Farmington.
- Shireen Ghorbani (Democratic Party): Shireen Ghorbani works in communications for the University of Utah. Her state elections website profile promises to focus on health care, infrastructure and tax reforms that would benefit working families. Ghorbani’s campaign website includes a prioritization of “human dignity,” under which she addresses immigration, criminal justice and LGTBQ+ issues. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Jeffrey Whipple (Independent Party): Jeffrey Whipple is a businessman and a student at Dixie State University. His state profile asserts the government’s obligation “to secure individual rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness; if an activity doesn’t directly contribute to one of these, then government shouldn’t be doing it.” Whipple’s campaign website addresses ending the drug war, protecting the 2nd amendment and bringing home American troops stationed abroad. Whipple is a Utah Valley University graduate and currently lives in Saint George.
HOUSE DISTRICT 3:
- John Curtis (Republican Party): John Curtis is a former gun range manufacturer who has been representing Utah’s 3rd district since replacing Jason Chaffetz last year. His profile on the state website promises to keep “bringing Utah values to Washington” and “working to make sure our small state has a big voice,” while his official website includes commitments to 2nd amendment rights, net neutrality and representative government. Curtis lives in Provo.
- James Singer (Democratic Party): James Singer is a professor at Salt Lake Community College and Westminster University. His campaign website explains how the events at Standing Rock, North Dakota and Bears Ears National Monument inspired him to run for office as a way to fight against oppression and subjugation. His state elections website profile promises to enact environmental regulations and infrastructure, invest in a debt-free education system and fight for justice for the disenfranchised and vulnerable. Singer graduated from Westminster University and lives in Salt Lake City.
- Gregory Duerden (Independent American Party): Greg Duerden is a retired journalist. His profile on the state’s website describes Duerden as “the ONLY true conservative in the race.” His campaign website focuses on issues like government corruption and accountability, partisan gridlock and campaign finance reform. Duerden lives in Orem.
- Tim Zeidner (United Utah Party): Tim Zeidner is a researcher and “reluctant candidate” for congress. His state profile says he’s running as “the citizen representative – to be a voice for people just like you and me.” Zeidner’s campaign website includes promises to fight for free trade, immigration reform and term limits. He graduated from Brigham Young University and lives in Cedar Hills.
HOUSE DISTRICT 4:
- Mia Love (Republican Party): Mia Love has represented Utah’s 4th district since 2015. She previously served as mayor of Saratoga Springs. Her state elections website profile describes Love as “pro-life, pro-business, and pro-small government.” Love’s campaign website focuses on issues like immigration, education and veterans’ rights. She attended the University of Hartford and lives in Saratoga Springs.
- Ben McAdams (Democratic Party): Ben McAdams is the mayor of Salt Lake County. His profile on the state’s website focuses on economic opportunity, including issues of taxes, employment and healthcare access. McAdams’ website names priorities including energy and environment, budget and taxes, and “fixing a broken Congress.” McAdams graduated from the University of Utah and lives in Salt Lake City
Correction (11/7): An earlier version of this story stated that Rep. Rob Bishop did not have a campaign website or profile on the state elections website; it has since been corrected. KSL regrets the error.
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