Congressman To Resign Suddenly

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Fla.) announced that he expects to resign from Congress immediately after a seamless transition can be secured.

A report shows Rep. Stewart (R-Utah), a six-term lawmaker, said this week that he plans to retire from the House of Representatives due to the sickness of his wife. His departure would leave the Republicans with a razor-thin majority in the House of Representatives and free up his committee assignments on the Appropriations and Intelligence Committees.

When there is a vacancy in the Utah House of Representatives, the governor has to convene a special election to fill the seat. After Stewart publicly submits his resignation, Republican Governor Spencer Cox will have a week to call for a primary and special election.

Until a special election is conducted, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) discretion in calling votes will be severely limited. 

As reports reveal,  this year, conservative and moderate Republicans clashed over border security legislation, and the ongoing disagreements inside the GOP over the debt limit compromise demonstrated that a lot of Republican senators were prepared to ignore the party leadership.

Stewart’s resignation would also affect Utah politics, as he was generally expected to run for governor or the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah). Those plans would have to be put on hold because of his wife’s sickness, opening the door for other aspiring Republicans.

Former United States Air Force member and novelist Rep. Stewart won his first election in 2012. He teamed up with Utah activist Elizabeth Smart, who campaigns for the protection of children, to promote her biography about her abduction. The 62-year-old Stewart was suggested as a potential contender for Director of National Intelligence under the administration of former President Donald Trump.

Records show this will mark the second time in the last six years that a Utah congressman has decided to retire early.

After leaving office in 2017, Republican from Utah’s congressional delegation Jason Chaffetz resigned as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, necessitating a runoff vote.

Following Rep. Stewart’s retirement on Wednesday morning, potential contenders on each side of the aisle are making their candidacy for the Utah seat known.