Utah Republican Chris Stewart resigns

 September 18, 2023

House Republicans' razor-thin House majority is one man smaller after the resignation of Utah congressman Chris Stewart.

Stewart's resignation was not unexpected after he announced in May that he was leaving Congress to care for his ailing wife.

Republican resigns

Stewart shared a lengthy statement with his reflections on leaving Congress.

“We are in a critical fight for our nation and our freedom,” he wrote. “And this fight grows intense. But because of good people, I have faith in our future.”

"Thank you to the people of Utah Second Congressional District for the honor and privilege of representing you these last eleven years. God bless you all. And God bless the United States of America," he added.

Majority shrinks

Ultimately, Stewart's resignation likely won't tip the balance of power very much because his district is safely red.

But his departure leaves Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) with fewer votes until Stewart's replacement is sworn in. A former staffer of Stewart's, Celeste Maloy, won the Republican primary in his district this month and is seen as a shoo-in for Stewart's seat this November.

In the meantime, McCarthy is seeking to avoid a government shutdown before the fiscal year ends on September 30.

While it has become customary for Congress to pass short-term funding bills, some conservative hardliners have threatened to vote against a continuing resolution to keep the government open beyond the end of the fiscal year.

Standing with McCarthy

Stewart - a McCarthy ally who sat on the influential Appropriations Committee and House Intelligence Committee - blasted the anti-McCarthy rebels on his way out the door.

“There’s a lot of anger and uncertainty right now,” Stewart said. “There’s a lot of us who think Kevin is a uniquely talented leader. We support him. And yet a few of our colleagues have made it impossible for him to be successful. And that makes us angry.”

There was an even larger shakeup in Utah last week with the news that Senator Mitt Romney (R), quintessential moderate Republican, is leaving politics once his Senate term is done.

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