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All four of Utah’s Republican U.S. House representatives are heading back to Washington for two more years.
The Associated Press called its first Utah race for Rep. Blake Moore at 9:37 p.m Tuesday evening. The AP later called the race for Rep. John Curtis at 10:52 p.m., and later called the race for Reps. Chris Stewart and Burgess Owens 11:01 p.m. and 11:07 p.m., respectively.
In a joint appearance with Owens and Curtis at the Utah GOP election night party, Stewart thanked party loyalists in attendance and assailed President Joe Biden over inflation.
”How many of you really love your country? That’s why we’re here tonight,” Stewart said. “This is personal. When my daughter calls to say she can’t come to dinner because she can’t afford the price of gas, this is personal.”
Curtis thanked his supporters, constituents, staff and family.
Owens, looking at his colleagues on the stage, said “What a remarkable team we have!”
”Let’s just keep it going!” he told the crowd, to applause.
In likely the most turbulent race of the 2022 cycle, Utah’s 4th Congressional District race is set to retain its current congressman, according to early returns.
Owens is likely to successfully complete his first reelection bid by holding off Democrat challenger Darlene McDonald. Owens has 73.1% of the vote to McDonald’s 20.12%, according to early returns Tuesday night. United Utah candidate January Walker received 6.7% of the vote.
After dodging the question of whether or not he would participate in a debate with his opponents, Owens announced hours before that he wouldn’t attend the nonpartisan Utah Debate Commission event with McDonald and Walker.
McDonald and Walker later attacked Owens during their debate, calling him a coward for not showing up. Owens and McDonald later organized their own debate, where the two sparred over topics like critical race theory and abortion.
At the Utah Democratic Party’s event in downtown Salt Lake City, McDonald came on stage with the song “Stand Up For Something” by Andra Day playing.
“We are here celebrating Democrats tonight, McDonald said. “I don’t know about you but I am proud to be a Democrat tonight ... As Democrats in Utah, we are here and we are not going anywhere.”
In Utah’s 2nd Congressional District, Stewart is likely to fend off Nick Mitchell, a Democrat, for the congressman’s fifth reelection bid.
Stewart received 70.2%% of the vote, early returns indicate, to Mitchell’s 23.4%. A third candidate, United Utah party nominee Jay McFarland, received 3.6% of the vote, according to early returns.
Stewart, Utah’s most tenured member of the U.S. House, is a U.S. Air Force veteran who serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the House committee that oversees intelligence agencies. Stewart soundly defeated his GOP primary opponent, attorney Erin Rider, grabbing 84% of the votes in June.
He cited his role in creating the national three-digit suicide hotline as one of his biggest accomplishments during his time in Congress.
His Democratic opponent, Mitchell, is a former University of Utah football player who calls himself as an inventor and scientist. He told The Salt Lake Tribune earlier this year that workers’ rights are important to him because he’d been severely injured while working at a trucking depot.
Mitchell and Stewart traded jabs during their debate commission event last month, with Mitchell attacking Stewart for his challenge of the 2020 presidential election. Stewart said Mitchell’s comment amounted to “essentially treason,” and argued he was worried about Pennsylvania’s election.
Mitchell also spoke during the Democrats’ event in Salt Lake City, “If nothing else, please remember this: we are in this together and we will only find our way out of this together. This extreme partisanship … needs to end now.”
Utah’s 1st and 3rd Congressional District races also are set to finish with predictable outcomes, as each incumbent saw easy double-digit leads as of Tuesday night.
In Utah’s 1st District, Moore finished his first reelection campaign with success, defeating Democratic challenger Rick Jones, according to The Associated Press. Early returns Tuesday night show Moore around 73.9% of the vote to Jones’ 26.1%.
Moore, a former State Department officer, staved off two GOP challengers to regain the Republican nomination earlier this year. Andrew Badger, a former defense intelligence analyst, and Tina Cannon, a former Morgan County commissioner, both called Moore a moderate Republican and attacked the incumbent from his political right.
Moore touted his progress in Congress during his and Jones’ October debate. Jones, a former dairy farmer and now a piano teacher, told The Salt Lake Tribune earlier this year he opted to run against Moore after realizing the GOP incumbent didn’t have an opponent.
Curtis is likely to defeat Democratic opponent Glenn Wright, as early returns indicate Curtis nabbed 74.2% of the vote compared to Wright’s 19.5%. Curtis’ likely win is his fourth to represent Utah’s 3rd Congressional District.
A former mayor of Provo, Curtis easily won his June primary against Chris Herrod — the third time he has beaten Herrod for the nomination. Since winning the 2017 special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Curtis has established himself as a conservationist, forming the Conservative Climate Caucus in 2021.
Despite the new caucus, Wright believes Curtis hasn’t done enough to combat climate change. An Air Force veteran and Summit County council member, Wright said during their October debate that Congress needed to be more aggressive in protecting the environment.
In a campaign email Monday, Wright’s campaign sent an email to supporters requesting financial support, saying, “Campaign debts are inevitable, and unfortunately, we fell short of what we wanted to raise this campaign to cover all funds.”
Much of Curtis and Wright’s October debate was overshadowed by a remark from Curtis that gained national attention after the congressman was asked for his thoughts on abortion.
“I get it, if you’re a woman, it stinks that most of these legislatures are men, most of these decisions are made by men,” Curtis said. " ... I wish, as a man, I didn’t have to make this decision. I wish women could make this decision.”
The results Tuesday mark the beginning of a new era in the state’s political history, as new boundaries — which are still being contested — were put to the test.
Tuesday’s election was the first to take place with newly-drawn congressional boundaries, as Utah’s GOP-heavy legislature recently split Salt Lake County’s Democratic base into fours. As a result, the state went from having one competitive district to none, likely locking Democrats out of a competitive race for a decade.
The redistricting led to voters suing state lawmakers, calling the new boundaries “illegal gerrymandering.” Last month, a state judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit.
Reporters Tony Semerad and Palak Jayswal contributed to this story.
This story is breaking and will be updated throughout the night.