Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Rep. Chris Stewart to Resign

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) told his colleagues yesterday that he is planning to resign his seat. He's expected to make a public announcement today. His stated reason is that he needs to help his wife with ongoing health issues.

Stewart is far-right and Trumpy, albeit with a libertarian streak, and has occupied this seat for a little over 10 years. UT-02 is R+11, and Stewart has outperformed that in every election, never winning by less than 17 points. That said, his Trumpiness does not sit especially well with many Utahns, and he's faced competitive primaries in each of the last three election cycles. That might also be part of his decision to throw in the towel.

The good news for the Republican Party, then, is that there may be an ugly primary as various candidates jockey for the right to replace Stewart, but the GOP is certainly going to hold the seat. However, per Utah law, unless the legislature allocates money for a special election, the primary will be on August 15, and the general will be November 9. The replacement will be able to take their seat as soon as the results are official, but that's still 5½ months away.

And that's the bad news for the Republican Party. Kevin McCarthy's already-thin 5-vote margin of error is about to get one vote thinner. And if Rep. "George Santos" (R-NY) is forced out anytime soon, it will get even thinner still. Of course, assuming the Speaker keeps his job, he might just be learning the lesson right now that it's much easier to work with the moderate Democrats in the House than it is to work with the Freedom Caucus. In that case, the narrow margin matters far less. (Z)

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