Utah’s special election has national implications says GOP chair

Jun 22, 2023, 11:19 AM | Updated: Jun 27, 2023, 3:27 pm

When Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, announced he would step down from his role representing Utah's 2nd...

Two men who represent Utah in the national Republican Party, Jordan Hess and Bruce Hough, are running to represent Utah's 2nd Congressional District. Their absence has organizations outside of Utah becoming interested in filling their seats. (Left: Jordan Hess, Linked In; right: Bruce Hough, Facebook)

(Left: Jordan Hess, Linked In; right: Bruce Hough, Facebook)

SALT LAKE CITY — When Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, announced he would step down from his role representing Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, it set off a flurry of activity that now includes a special election and interest from groups outside of Utah.

State GOP Party Chair Robert Axson said this is a sign that Utah is becoming more than a so-called flyover state.

Some of the attention is coming from groups with an interest in filling the vacancy of the person that represents Utah in the national party.

“That just doesn’t normally happen,” said state GOP party chair Robert Axson. “I think folks are looking and seeing that there’s an opportunity of leadership that’s coming out of Utah and we’re geared up for some critical roles to play over these next handful of years.”

Two people running in the race relinquished their roles with the National Republican Party in order to run. Bruce Hough was the national committeeman of the Utah Republican Party. Jordan Hess was the vice chair of the Utah Republican Party.

Both men have stepped out of those roles to run in the special election to replace Stewart.

Some of the attention is coming from Turning Points Action, “which is part of Turning Points USA, which is kind of focused on conservative thought with a specific target audience of young people,” Axson said.

“They have a preferred candidate for Bruce Hough’s replacement. That just doesn’t normally happen.”

Chair Robert Axson also thinks the race will help make Utah a player in the presidential race with several of the candidates visiting to drum up support.

The Utah Republican Party holds its convention Saturday, June 24 to nominate a candidate that will appear on the special election ballot.

This year’s primary election will be held Sept. 5. The general election will be held Nov. 21.

Our previous reporting: Utah party chairs react to special election, both confident of a win

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Utah’s special election has national implications says GOP chair