A former staffer for Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, has all but won her bid to replace him after he resigns later this year.
Celeste Maloy, who served as Sterwart’s chief legal counsel in Congress, won a three-way Republican primary election on Thursday ahead of an upcoming special election. With the Republican nomination, she is now the heavy favorite in the special election against Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Riebe in November.
“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 Thursday.
Stewart has served in the House of Representatives for roughly 10 years, but he is resigning in September due to his wife’s illness.
Maloy credited her win to her campaign’s focus on rural areas in Utah.
“I did debates in the rural counties. I showed up and held events in the rural counties,” Maloy said. “We decided early on that our strategy was going to be to win the rural counties, and then get as much as we could in the more urban counties.”
Maloy’s election effort enjoyed a boost from Stewart’s own endorsement as well as an endorsement from former Utah U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop.
Stewart is one of three members of the U.S. House of Representatives to voluntarily leave office early this year. Reps. David Cicilline, D-RI, and Donald McEachin, D-Va., also resigned within the past 12 months.
In all, 15 other senators and representatives have announced that they are not running for re-election in 2024, opening up races across the country.
Maloy will face off against Riebe on Nov. 21.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.