Republican candidate Celeste Maloy has won a special election to the U.S. House of Representatives for Utah’s 2nd District, according to multiple reports.

The district had previously been represented for 10 years by former Republican Rep. Chris Stewart, who resigned from Congress on Sept. 15 due to his wife’s unspecified health concerns. Maloy, who served on Stewart’s staff and had received his endorsement, won the general election with 54% of the vote, defeating Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Riebe of the 15th District.

“I said early on in this campaign that I was going to outwork everybody else, and I think I’ve made good on that promise. And I feel confident because I’m hearing a lot of positive feedback from the people I’m out talking to,” Maloy wrote in a post on Twitter, now known as X, ahead of her victory.

Maloy will join the 118th Congress to serve out the remainder of Stewart’s term, which was set to expire on Jan. 3, 2025, and will have to seek re-election to her seat in 2024 to remain in office for another term. Her entry will raise House Republicans’ narrow majority by one seat, to 222 members against the Democrats’ 213 members.

The race between Maloy and Riebe largely focused on economic issues, with Maloy vowing to cut public spending and promote fiscal responsibility in office. “We have to get our spending under control. Spending more money isn’t going to solve the world’s problems,” Maloy said at the candidates’ debate on Oct. 17, where she also pledged to support Israel during its current conflict with Hamas.

Riebe was elected to the state Senate in 2018 and, earlier, served on the Utah State Board of Education. Her district covers urban areas in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City.

Maloy, who served as Stewart’s chief legal counsel while in Congress, won a competitive primary to become the district’s nominee. She outraised her opponent Riebe by nearly $300,000 between April and November, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Utah’s 2nd Congressional District covers nearly the entire Western half of the state and has a Cook Partisan Voting Index rating of R+11. A poll conducted by Lighthouse Research in October showed Maloy leading Riebe by nine percentage points.

House Speaker Mike Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Arjun Singh on November 21, 2023

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