Congressman Chris Stewart announces reelection bid for 6th term

·3 min read
In this Sept. 19, 2019, file photo, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, leaves a meeting with national intelligence inspector general Michael Atkinson about a whistleblower complaint, at the Capitol in Washington.
In this Sept. 19, 2019, file photo, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, leaves a meeting with national intelligence inspector general Michael Atkinson about a whistleblower complaint, at the Capitol in Washington.

U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, Utah's longest-tenured member of Congress, announced he would be seeking reelection for a sixth term as Utah's 2nd district representative on Monday morning on Twitter.

In his announcement, he spoke against the current conditions of America and asked for the support of all Utahns who share his beliefs.

"I am asking for the support of all Utahns who share my belief that our state, and our nation, needs to embark on a course that empowers the American people," he wrote on Twitter.

This congressional seat has been held by Stewart for the last 10 years and during that time he has faced limited challenges from opponents. He's handily defeated any Democrats over the last 10 years — his closest race was in 2018 and he won by 17 percentage points.

Outside of Stewart's first GOP nomination in 2012, when one candidate accused other Republicans of conspiring against Stewart, he's only faced one primary challenge during the 2020 Republican convention.

Right now, there is one republican challenger for Stewart, Erin Rider, a Salt Lake City-based attorney.

As of Monday, Stewart had much more funding than Rider. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) showed Stewart had more than $312,000 in campaign funds on hand. Rider's fundraising amounts weren't on the FEC website yet but reporting done by the Salt Lake Tribune indicated Rider has close to $40,000 in funds.

Utah Rep. Chris Stewart speaks with The Spectrum about recent political news Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.
Utah Rep. Chris Stewart speaks with The Spectrum about recent political news Monday, Oct. 7, 2019.

During his time in congress Stewart, a former Air Force pilot, has positioned himself as a staunch conservative, campaigning on 2nd amendment rights, limited spending and national security issues. In recent years, Stewart has embraced the part of the Republican party that supports controversial former President Donald Trump.

This past year, Stewart supported nullifying the 2020 electoral election results because he said there was "plenty of evidence" over election fraud. The 2020 election has been declared as the most secure in American history by election experts.

Stewart also voted against impeaching Trump for his role at the insurrection U.S. capital building on Jan. 6 and voted against a creating bi-partisan commission to study this insurrection.

These actions have resulted in some calling for Stewart's resignation, including a group of progressive advocates at Alliance for a Better Utah who said Stewart choose to fight against democracy for his own political ambition.

Stewart's announcement comes a few days after Utah's Legislature and governor finalized its redistricting process which created four congressional districts that each take a part of the state's most populated county, Salt Lake County.

The 2nd congressional district will be the state's largest by geographical area, covering roughly 40,000 square/miles, which is about the same size as Kentucky. This district combines parts of Salt Lake City and the Tooele area with the southwest portion of the state.

Read more: Washington, Iron counties get more representation in Legislature's proposed redistricting maps

This new district looks very similar to the district created during the last redistricting process and is expected to continue to be a safely Republican district. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project analyzed the 2nd district and estimated the partisan spilt favoring conservatives with 61.8% Republicans and 38.1% Democrats.

This would make the 2nd district the most competitive among Utah's four congressional districts, which have been accused of partisan gerrymandering since these districts divide Salt Lake County — Utah's most Democratic county — four ways and create four safely Republican districts.

These concerns are largely centered around Salt Lake County, with many local officials in southern Utah advocated for Stewart to continue to be the congressional representative for the area. These advocates include a former staffer for Stewart and current Washington County Commissioner Adam Snow as well as the newly elected mayor for St. George Michele Randall.

Sean Hemmersmeier covers local government, growth and development in Southwestern Utah. Follow on Twitter @seanhemmers34. Our work depends on subscribers so if you want more coverage on these issues you can subscribe here: http://www.thespectrum.com/subscribe.

This article originally appeared on St. George Spectrum & Daily News: U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, announces reelection bid for 6th term