Utah GOP convention chooses primary candidate for Stewart's seat

Posted at 9:39 PM, Jun 24, 2023

DELTA, Utah — The Utah Republican Party has finally chosen the candidate they hope will replace Rep. Chris Stewart’s seat in September’s special election.

After many hours of voting and listening to almost a dozen candidate speeches, Celeste Maloy was voted to be the GOP nominee for Utah’s 2nd congressional district.

“This is completely surreal. I was a congressional staffer a month ago with no plans to ever run for Congress and now I’m the nominee,” she said.

Maloy has experience in both agriculture and law. She spent over a decade working with ranchers and farmers before joining the Washington County Attorney’s Office.

She was also part of Stewart’s legal counsel and gained his endorsement during this race.

“I know this district. I know these issues,” she said to the convention. “We’ve worked on these issues together.”

For the first four rounds of voting, former Utah Speaker of the House Greg Hughes led first, with Maloy closely behind.

“I served as Speaker of the House. By doing that, I have a proven track record for addressing the issues specifically with the second district,” said Hughes on-stage.

It was fellow candidate Jordan Hess’s endorsement before the final voting that pushed Maloy over the edge to win.

“I came in ready to make my case and trust the delegates,” said Maloy.

However, this doesn't mean she will win the nomination to the general election. Other candidates can still get on the Republican primary ballot if they collect 7,000 signatures.

It hasn’t even been a full month since Stewart announced that he is resigning over concerns for his wife’s health.

To accommodate the changes, the state legislature passed a bill last week changing the primary election date to Sep. 5 and the general election date to Nov. 21.

Stewart’s last day in office will be Sep. 15.