(HorizonPost.com) – Utah Republican Celeste Maloy last Tuesday defeated Democrat Kathleen Riebe in Utah’s special congressional election to replace former Republican Rep. Chris Stewart who stepped down in September due to his wife’s illness, the Associated Press reported.
Maloy, who served as Stewart’s chief legal counsel, was favored to win Utah’s District 2, a reliably Republican district that runs from Salt Lake City to the western and southern edges of the state. Her opponent was the second highest-ranking Democrat in the state Senate, serving as minority whip.
In her victory speech Tuesday night, Maloy described her victory as a “sign that the American Dream is alive and well,” as she was an unknown with no campaign budget.
Chris Stewart, who served in Congress for six terms, set off a scramble among Utah Republicans when he first announced in May that he would resign his seat in September. During the state’s June Republican convention, Maloy was the top contender among the more than ten Republicans seeking to replace Stewart.
Maloy defeated Republican state Rep. Becky Edwards and Utah businessman Bruce Hough in the September 5 special primary.
With last Tuesday’s victory, Maloy will become the fifth woman in Utah history to serve in the House of Representatives. She campaigned on increasing security at the border, reining in federal spending, protecting religious freedom, and placing control of Utah’s natural resources back into the hands of the state.
Maloy outpaced Kathleen Riebe in fundraising, raking in nearly $600,000 in campaign contributions and spending more than 75 percent during the election. Riebe only raised about half as much as Maloy and spent around 90 percent.
Maloy will be joining the House at a time when congressional Republicans have been embroiled in battles over government spending.
After her victory, Maloy acknowledged the mess in Congress and suggested that she could help lower the temperature since she is “even-keeled and low drama.” Maloy said she is hoping to be a “uniter” in the Republican conference.
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