Republican Celeste Maloy has won the highly contested special election in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, beating state Sen. Kathleen Riebe, a self-described moderate, according to the Associated Press. This victory fills the last remaining open seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The special election was triggered by the resignation of former Republican Rep. Chris Stewart in September, who stepped down due to his wife’s unspecified illness. This left a vacancy in the district, which covers a vast portion of rural and southern Utah.
Maloy, who served as Stewart’s chief legal counsel in Congress, won a three-way primary election in September, touting her rural roots and her support for former President Donald Trump. She has passionately argued that the ongoing prosecutions against Trump are politically motivated.
After winning the primary, Maloy stated, “It’s exciting that we’re going to have somebody come out of this primary that represents rural and southern Utah. I think it’s time for that, and everybody’s ready for it.”
On the other side, Riebe, a school teacher with a moderate stance, has consistently argued that this race is an opportunity for Democrats to gain a seat in the House. Her primary focus has been on the rising national debt and the need for moderation in decision-making.
ELECTION: Celeste Maloy, a Utah Republican, won a special election to fill the vacant House seat of her former boss, Rep. Chris Stewart.
— UngaTheGreat (@UngaTheGreat) November 22, 2023
In an interview with Deseret News in August, Riebe expressed concern over the nation’s rising debt and promised to join the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition if elected. “Coming to a very rational decision and having very moderate ideas, I think that is what serves us best,” she said.
Maloy, with her support from Trump and her Republican roots in a traditionally conservative district, was the clear front-runner in this election. Her victory, which was called by the Associated Press at 8:36 p.m. local time, gives Republicans some extra cushion for close votes in the House.
Despite Riebe’s best efforts to rally support and win over voters with her moderate stance, Maloy’s victory was not a surprise. The district has a history of supporting Republican candidates, with Stewart winning with double-digit margins in the six elections he was the Republican nominee for the district dating back to 2012.
Maloy’s victory is seen as a win for the Republican party and a reinforcement of their stronghold in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District. As the newest representative for this district, Maloy’s priorities will likely include advocating for the interests of rural and southern Utah and supporting the policies of former President Trump.
With the special election now over and a new representative chosen, the residents of the 2nd Congressional District can look forward to having their voice heard in Congress once again. With the nation facing many critical issues, including a pandemic, economic recovery, and political division, Maloy’s victory offers stability and representation for the people of Utah.