SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Dist. 2 Rep. Chris Stewart officially announced his plans to resign from Congress on Wednesday morning, leaving a question mark on what could happen to Stewart’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
While Stewart announced his retirement from Congress, he will still act as Dist. 2’s representative until an “orderly transition” to a new representative can be ensured. According to Utah State Code, a new representative would be selected through a special election, should the seat be vacated.
Utah’s Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson said Gov. Spencer Cox will have seven days to issue a proclamation for a special election after Stewart either vacates office or submits an official letter of resignation. Cox’s proclamation will outline the dates of the special election, under certain restrictions.
Henderson said without additional legislative approval, the special election has to coincide with an existing primary and general election. The congressional primary special election date has to be held at least 90 days after the governor’s proclamation then the special election date must be at least 90 days after the primary special election date.
While there is a municipal primary election coming up in August, Henderson said it is not on the list of options for any potential congressional special elections. This could mean the special election would not be held until the 2024 election cycle.
The governor could set dates for a special election outside of existing election dates, however, so long as the Utah legislature votes to approve the dates and funding for the special election. In either scenario, political parties will have three to four weeks to nominate their candidates and no more than 28 days to gather and submit signatures to qualify for the ballot.
After the special election, the new representative would finish out Stewart’s current term in office, which will end on Jan. 3, 2025.
District 2 covers portions of West Valley and Salt Lake City to as far north as Farmington in Davis County along the Wasatch Front. It also encompasses the entire southwestern part of the state from Tooele to St. George and as far east as Wayne, Garfield, and Kane Counties.