In Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, Republican Celeste Maloy emerged victorious over Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Riebe in a special election to fill the sole vacant seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Associated Press declared Maloy the winner on Tuesday evening at 8:36 p.m. local time.
This special election was necessitated by the resignation of former Republican Rep. Chris Stewart in September, who stepped down citing his wife’s health concerns. Maloy, previously Stewart’s chief legal counsel, successfully navigated a three-way primary in September to secure her place in the election.
Throughout her campaign, Maloy emphasized her upbringing in rural southern Utah, a significant part of the district, and aligned herself with former President Donald Trump, dismissing the various legal actions against him as politically driven.
After her primary win, Maloy remarked on the significance of representing rural and southern Utah, stating, “It’s exciting that we’re going to have somebody… everybody’s ready for it.”
Contrastingly, her opponent Riebe positioned herself as a moderate Democrat, leveraging her background as a school teacher and advocating for fiscal conservatism. In an August interview with Deseret News, she highlighted her concerns about the national debt and her intention to join the Blue Dog Coalition, known for its fiscal conservatism, if elected.
With Stewart’s historical double-digit victories in the district since 2012, Maloy was widely regarded as the frontrunner in this special election. Her win provides the Republican Party with an additional buffer for closely contested votes in the House.