Republican Celeste Maloy, currently the favored frontrunner to win the special election, filled the last available seat in Utah’s House of Representatives on Tuesday night when she defeated the self-described moderate state Senator Kathleen Riebe.
Held in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, the election was prompted by the resignation of former Republican Rep. Chris Stewart, who left Congress in September in response to his wife’s undisclosed illness. Celeste Maloy served as Stewart’s chief legal counsel in Congress and won a three-way primary election that month.
As a candidate, Maloy boasted her roots of being raised in rural southern Utah, of which the district covers a vast portion, and has leaned into her support of former President Donald Trump, refuting the numerous ongoing prosecutions against him as politically motivated.
“It’s exciting that we’re going to have somebody come out of this primary that represents rural and southern Utah. I think it’s time for that, and everybody’s ready for it,” Maloy said following her primary win.
Nevertheless, Kathleen Riebe has suggested the election is a pickup opportunity for Democrats, relying on her background as a school teacher to claim that voters in the area are ready for a change.
In an interview in August, Riebe stated, “Coming to a very rational decision and having very moderate ideas, I think that is what serves us best,” regarding her concern over the nation’s rising debt and pledged to join the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition if elected.
Maloy is currently the favored frontrunner to win the special election, given Chris Stewart’s double-digit margin of victory in the six elections he was the Republican nominee for the district, going back to 2012.
A GOP win gives Republicans some extra cushion for close votes.