Republican Celeste Maloy secured victory in Utah’s special election on Tuesday, defeating state Sen. Kathleen Riebe, who identifies as a moderate. The Associated Press declared Maloy the winner at 8:36 p.m. local time, marking the end of a closely watched race in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District. The election was prompted by the resignation of former Republican Rep. Chris Stewart in September, who stepped down due to his wife’s undisclosed illness.
Maloy, who previously served as Stewart’s chief legal counsel in Congress, emerged victorious in a three-way primary election held that same month. Throughout her campaign, Maloy emphasized her upbringing in rural southern Utah, a significant portion of the district. She also highlighted her support for former President Donald Trump, contending that the legal actions against him were politically motivated.
Following her primary win, Maloy expressed excitement about representing rural and southern Utah, stating, “I think it’s time for that, and everybody’s ready for it.”
On the other hand, Riebe, the Democratic candidate, viewed the race as an opportunity for her party and emphasized her experience as a school teacher. She made the case that the district was “ready for a change.” In an August interview with Deseret News, Riebe voiced concerns about the nation’s growing debt and pledged to join the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition if elected. She advocated for rational decision-making and moderate ideas.
Maloy entered the special election as the favored candidate, given Stewart’s substantial margins of victory in the district dating back to 2012. A win for the GOP in this election provides Republicans with additional support in close votes.