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GOP 49
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Utah Could Elect a Trump-Hating, Abortion-Supporting Republican to the House

Tomorrow, Utah Republicans will pick their candidate for the special election that will fill the seat of Chris Stewart (R), who resigned from the House to take care of his sick wife. Whoever wins the Republican primary is expected to easily beat state Sen. Kathleen Riebe (D) in the general special election in the R+11 district.

In the only public poll in the race, former state Rep. Becky Edwards (R) is leading the other candidates, but half the voters are undecided. The district is the least Republican in a heavily gerrymandered state. What is unusual here is that Edwards voted for Joe Biden in 2020 and supported the impeachment of Donald Trump in Jan. 2021. She was also not happy with the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Needless to say, this puts her out of step with most of the House Republican caucus and could make her a real thorn in the side of Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who needs every vote on every bill.

The other major candidates are RNC committeeman Bruce Hough and attorney Celeste Maloy. They are more conservative than Edwards. It is possible that Edwards did well in the poll due to higher name recognition than Hough and Maloy. Edwards ran in the Republican Senate primary against Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and got 30% of the vote. While not enough to beat Lee, it did give her a statewide profile, which she is exploiting now.

On the other hand, despite Lee being a senator, Utah is not a MAGA state and the other senator, Mitt Romney (R-UT) is no friend of Donald Trump. Consequently, it is entirely possible that Edwards could pull off a surprise win in a low-turnout special election primary. (V)

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