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Two new candidates join GOP field for 2nd District

Published November 1, 2011 2:28 pm

Politics • The contest to replace Matheson gets even more crowded on the GOP side.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A former Air Force pilot and author and a businessman who made his fortune in the trucking industry are throwing their hats into the ring for Utah's 2nd Congressional District.

They join a growing field of Republicans interested in the redrawn seat currently held by Democrat Jim Matheson.

Chris Stewart is president and CEO of The Shipley Group, which provides government consulting as well as anti-terrorism tactical training and some environmental consulting.

Stewart is the author of 14 books, including several volumes of a military techno-thriller series and more recently The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World, which was featured on Glenn Beck's television program.

He spent 14 years in the Air Force, setting a record for the fastest around-the-world flight in a B-1 bomber, completing the flight in 36 hours and 13 minutes. He separated from the Air Force in 1998.

Stewart said he is concerned about the debt the federal government has accumulated and says it is unsustainable and needs to change.

"I just couldn't stand to watch it anymore. I'm doing this for the same reason I went into the military in the first place," Stewart said. "I want to get into the fight."

Stewart said he also believes the Utah congressional delegation needs a military perspective, considering how important Hill Air Force Base and the Utah Test and Training Range are to the military, and he believes he can add that viewpoint.

"I think I have a realistic understanding that no one individual is going to go back to Washington, especially in Congress, and make an impact," he said, but he said he could help begin to make the change. "We have to elect good men and women who will go back there and fight for the principles they believe in."

Stewart, 51, and his wife Evie have six children and live in Farmington. He enjoys rock climbing and spending time with his family. His brother is U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart.

Howard Wallack, who started out as a teacher in upstate New York, joined his family trucking business and built it up before selling it in 1998. Wallack retired to Park City. He owns a small real estate company and his wife runs a travel agency there.

"I want to run for Congress because I'm worried about my grandchildren inheriting an America that's quite different from the one I grew up in," he said. "I grew up relatively poor and I made my way in life. In the America I grew up in, someone who worked hard and had a reasonable degree and a little bit of luck was able to succeed. In today's world, with the current economy and unfriendly business attitude" that may not be possible.

Wallack, 64, said he would like to see government be more pro-business and would like to see credit available to small businesses. To do that, he said, the federal government needs to balance its budget.

"I'm just a businessman who sees what is going on in Washington and sees that we're headed in the wrong direction," he said.

Wallack has served on the boards of several trucking industry organizations. He is married with two children and three grandchildren and enjoys skiing and sailing in his spare time.

While his current residence in Park City is outside the 2nd District, he said he plans to buy a home inside it, in St. George.

The field for the 2nd District is already looking crowded. Former Air Force pilot and Pentagon official Chuck Williams and conservative activist Cherilyn Eagar have said they'll run in the 2nd District.

State Rep. David Clark is exploring a possible bid and lives in the 2nd District. Former State Rep. Morgan Philpot said he is leaning toward a bid in the 2nd District, where he challenged Matheson last year, losing by five percentage points. And State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom is deciding whether to run in the 2nd District or in the 4th Congressional District, and is expected to make a decision in the next week or two. Also, airline pilot John Willoughby, son of former Salt Lake City Police Chief Bud Willoughby, and former NFL player Jason Buck have said they were considering getting in the race, though Buck also was looking at the 4th District.

Matheson has not said what office he will run for next year.