Another Top Republican Bites The Dust

( – The GOP is losing an influential member as Utah Representative Chris Stewart has announced his upcoming resignation from Congress.

Though Stewart did not say exactly when he would leave office, he said his wife’s ill health compelled him to step down.

A written statement from Stewart’s office said he has enjoyed serving his constituents, but that his wife’s health problems must come first, and that there must be “an orderly transition” once he leaves.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said he learned of Stewart’s upcoming departure on May 30th. He described Stewart as someone who made sacrifices to serve his constituents, but now he has to take care of matters at home.

McCarthy said he was confident Republicans would “hold that seat.”

Utah’s law requires the governor to set a primary and a special election to fill a vacated House seat. The primary has to take place within 90 days of a Representative stepping down. After that, the governor has another 90 days to announce a “general special election” to finalize the matter.

Chris Stewart was an Air Force pilot. When he leaves office, he’ll also be giving up key seats on the Intelligence and House Appropriations Committee. Observers see Stewart’s seat as safely in Republican hands, as Stewart won his seat by 25 points in the midterm elections of 2022.

Losing Stewart may make politics difficult for Speaker McCarthy, as it leaves Republicans down one vote on legislation until the special election replaces Stewart. While the left and right sides of the Congressional aisle are always adversarial, dissent within the Republican party is ongoing.

McCarthy brokered a deal with President Biden this week to raise the U.S. debt ceiling through 2025 with requirements to curb government spending and add tougher work requirements for those receiving government benefits such as food stamps. But hard-line conservatives like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have castigated the agreement, saying it gives away money to the Democratic Party without a benefit in return.

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