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GOP House Majority to Shrink

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) intends to resign from his seat in the House of Representatives.

The Republican legislator cited health issues with his wife as the reason for his resignation, multiple outlets reported.

Stewart is expected to exit the House before the end of the year and will leave an open seat on the House Appropriations and Intelligence committees.

The six-term congressman represents a GOP-heavy district and a Republican is expected to fill the seat once Utah Gov. Spencer Cox calls a special election.

In the meantime, Stewart’s impending absence will reduce the GOP’s majority in the House of Representatives.

“It’s been one of the great honors of my life to represent Utah in the People’s House. God bless you all, and God bless America,” Stewart wrote.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

First elected by Utahns in 2012, Stewart is serving his 6th term in Congress. In 2022, he won reelection over Democrat Nick Mitchell by over 30 percentage points.

Stewart will be the second member of Utah’s Congressional delegation to resign mid-term in the past six years. Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz gave up his seat in Congress in 2017 to become a pundit on Fox News Channel.

Picking a replacement for the remainder of Stewart’s term will require a special election. Once Stewart officially announces he’s resigning, Gov. Spencer Cox has seven days to set the primary and special election schedule. Under state law, those dates will be the same as this year’s municipal primary and general elections, unless the Legislature appropriates money to hold an election on a different date.

Fox News discussed the implications of Stewart’s impending exit from the House:

However, until a special election happens, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will have even less room for error when whipping votes. Assuming united Democratic opposition, McCarthy can only afford to lose three Republican votes on any given legislation. Intra-party fighting between hard-line conservatives and moderates already threatened to tank a Republican border security bill this year, and current GOP disagreements on the debt ceiling deal demonstrate plenty of Republican lawmakers are willing to buck the party line.

Stewart’s retirement would also reshape Utah politics, as he was widely believed to be considering a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah., or the governor’s mansion. His wife’s illness would put those plans on hold, creating opportunities for other ambitious Republicans.


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