POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Utah party chairs react to special election, both confident of a win

May 31, 2023, 3:07 PM | Updated: 3:28 pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Congressman Chris Stewart announced Wednesday he will resign from the U.S. House of Representatives, and the party chairs of both the Utah Democratic Party and the Utah Republican Party say they’re ready to roll with a special election.

The Dave and Dujanovic Show spoke to the chair of the Utah Republican party and the Utah Democratic party to get their reaction, and to ask who they think could replace Stewart to finish the term.

Who could replace Congressman Stewart in a Utah special election?

Robert Axson, the Utah Republican party chair said he was confident that whoever replaces Stewart will be a Republican.

“We are confident that it will be a Republican that ultimately wins in this special election … Utah gravitates towards the values that the Republican party espouses.”

Axson did not name any specific Republican to occupy the seat, and he says he will let the process play out before getting behind one candidate.

“We’ll run a fair and neutral process for folks that want to engage. I would recommend any individual considering seeking the Republican nomination to lean into our principle, our values, and our platform.”

As for experience, or someone who already holds an office, Axson said he does not have a preference.

“Our founders purposefully wanted the house to be most in touch with the people … (they) wanted it to be, as best it could, a citizen legislature.”

They are coming for the seat

Utah Democratic party chair Diane Lewis said Republicans shouldn’t be so confident that they’ll retain Stewart’s seat.

“I say they better watch out because we are coming to get them,” she said.

Host Dave Noriega pointed out the second congressional district has been gerrymandered to benefit Republicans. Still, Diane said she was optimistic.

“We have just had our county and state conventions … we saw an excitement we had not seen in years. We are ready to go and we are ready to get Democrats elected.”

Utah’s had plenty of Democratic congressmen in the past. Most recently Jim Matheson represented Utah’s 4th Congressional District from 2001-2015. Ben McAdams also represented the 4th District from 2019-2021.

Diane did not mention any possible candidates that could run in the special election. “We are looking for a very strong candidate and we have quite a few in this state.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

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Utah party chairs react to special election, both confident of a win