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Can mowing lawns help this Democrat win a congressional race in deep-red Utah?

“There should be a spectrum of dialogue in every political party and it should be not just okay but welcomed, encouraged,” Democratic candidate Nathaniel Woodward said of the party.

(Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Woodward) Utah Democrats have nominated Nathaniel Woodward to run in the 2024 2nd Congressional District election.

A month after a dramatic nominating convention, Utah Democrats have chosen a candidate to run in Utah’s 2nd Congressional District election this fall.

Nathaniel Woodward, an attorney based in Price and the chair of the Carbon County Democratic party, won the party’s nomination during a vote on Saturday. He replaces Brian Adams, whose views on immigration and Democratic President Joe Biden, led to outrage from Utah Democrats who demanded he recuse himself from the nomination last month.

In an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune, Woodward said it’s not enough to get the Democrat or “disillusioned Republican” vote, but he wants to appeal and win the trust of voters from all spectrums of politics.

“I want [strong conservative Republicans] to have confidence that even this liberal progressive will do everything in his power to represent the interests of their community to make their lives better,” he said. “Between me and my Republican challengers, whoever it may be, I’m getting the head start, because now I’m starting to campaign to everyone, not just those in my party.”

Woodward added he feels good about going up against incumbent Rep. Celeste Maloy or U.S. Army veteran Colby Jenkins, even though he knows he won’t fundraise nearly as much as them.

“Celeste and Colby are both people of honor, so I’m not terribly concerned about any of the nasty stuff …” he said of the monthslong 2024 campaign. “They’re going to out-fundraise me no matter what I do, and I can feel good that I will not be beholden to any corporations or national organizations.”

Woodward said he’s planning on taking a community-based approach to his campaign, not taking “a nickel from special interest groups or political action committees.” Instead, he will raise money from small donations from individual donors, small businesses, unions and “places that advocate for people, never places that advocate for corporations.”

The situation with Adams was interesting, Woodward said, adding he is not a fan of the idea that there cannot be disagreement within parties, whether Republican or Democrat.

Ahead of the nominating convention, comments by Adams — the sole Democrat to enter the race — claiming Jan. 6 rioters were being “politically persecuted” and criticizing Biden’s immigration policy resulted in ire within the party. At the April 27 convention, Adams agreed to withdraw his nomination, meaning Democrats would need to choose a new candidate. Woodward prevailed on Saturday over six other congressional hopefuls.

“There should be a spectrum of dialogue in every political party and it should be not just okay but welcomed, encouraged,” he said. “That being said, the positions [Adams] had taken, were deeply concerning to defend. Those who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, are not just against our party values. I think it goes against common sense.”

The Utah Democratic Party is confident it can help Woodward run a successful campaign, according to Mason Hughes, a spokesperson for the party.

“We’ve been able to avoid a lot of the party infighting that the Republicans have been dealing with, especially in Congressional District 2,” Hughes said. “Nathaniel can just focus on the general election without having to focus on winning a primary right now.”

Utah’s 2nd District envelopes 13 counties with an estimated population of 849,661, according to the United States Census Bureau.

Woodward wants to focus on “little acts of service” like mowing people’s lawns to leave an impression on voters and flip the red seat blue.

“Even if come November, the voters decide that I’m not their choice, I still would have made an impact in each of those little communities, which is exactly what I want to do in Congress is to leave an impact, mutual positive impact in each of those communities,” he said.

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