Three candidates running in Republican primary for U.S. House special election in Utah

Becky EdwardsBruce Hough, and Celeste Maloy are running in the Republican primary for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District on Sept. 5, 2023. The winner will advance to a general election on Nov. 21.

The winner of the special election will fill the planned vacancy of incumbent Chris Stewart (R), who was first elected in 2012 and will resign on Sept. 15. This will be the first U.S. House special election in Utah since 2017 and the fifth in state history.

Maloy received the most delegate support at the Republican Party’s June 24 convention, placing her on the September primary ballot. Edwards and Hough later submitted signatures in order to appear on the ballot.

Frank Pignanelli wrote in The Deseret News, “Convention results are poor indicators of primary election results, so all contenders have a chance … The GOP primary aspirants have distinctive, but not overwhelming, advantages and disadvantages. Consequently, success depends upon the basics of retail politics — clever messaging and effective ‘Get Out The Vote’ measures.” In the same piece, LaVarr Webb said, “They’re all mainstream Republicans and reflect the views of most Utah voters.”

Edwards served in the Utah House from 2009 to 2018, before which she worked as a family therapist and social worker. Edwards placed second in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in 2022 with 30% of the vote.

Hough, a political consultant and business owner, chaired the Utah Republican Party from 1991 to 1995 and served as a national committeeman with the Republican National Committee.

Maloy was counsel for Stewart’s Washington, D.C., office from 2019 to 2023, before which she worked as a soil conservationist and deputy county attorney in Washington County.

Stewart was re-elected in 2022, defeating Nick Mitchell (D), 60% to 34%. In 2020, Donald Trump (R) received an estimated 57% of the district vote to Joe Biden’s (D) 40%.

As of July 24, 2023, four special elections have been called for the 118th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 117th Congress, 67 special elections were held. For more data on historical congressional special elections, click here.