Utah 2 Special: Beehive State Buzz
Utah Republican Chris Stewart recently made a surprise announcement that he would resign from Congress before the end of his term to care for his ailing wife. Stewart’s early exit —he told Roll Call he was aiming for September — will set up a special election to fill his seat for the remainder of the term.
Under Utah law, if Stewart resigns in September, the earliest the special general election can take place is March 5, 2024. The Republican primary, which is the most consequential contest in this solid GOP district, would take place on Nov. 7, 2023.
The Lay of the Land
Utah’s 2nd District is a largely rural district that covers much of western Utah, as well as the northwestern quarter of Salt Lake County.
Half of the district’s population resides in the Salt Lake City metro area, while 22 percent is in the St. George metro area and 16 percent in the Ogden-Clearfield metro area.
The 2nd’s population is roughly 75 percent white and 15 percent Hispanic, with the balance split between Asian, Black, and Native residents. Just over 32 percent of the population holds a bachelor’s degree (less than the nationwide rate of 38 percent).
Politically, the district is solidly Republican. It would have voted for Donald Trump by 17 points, 56-39 percent, in 2020, and by a similar margin for Trump in 2016: 47-31 percent, with the rest going to independent candidate Evan McMullin.
In 2022, when McMullin ran against Sen. Mike Lee (as an independent but also the de facto…