Rep. Chris Stewart says he’s been getting some pressure from Utah Republicans to run for the Congressional seat being vacated by the retirement of Rep. Rob Bishop because his background in the Air Force would be beneficial to Hill Air Force Base. Stewart says he’s flattered, but he’s not giving up his current seat in the 2nd District.
“Some people want me to, but it’s a solution that’s too cute,” said Stewart at Saturday’s Utah GOP convention. “I’ve never considered it, but I understand why they want me to.”
Hill AFB is one of the largest employers in Utah, and a significant driver of Utah’s economy. Stewart said he can still help Hill AFB even if he’s not representing the district. He also said there’s a chance Hill could be drawn into his district following the 2021 redistricting cycle.
Stewart announced his 2020 re-election campaign last month, more than 18 months ahead of next November’s election, which is unusual for an incumbent Republican member of Congress from Utah. Stewart said he wanted to tamp down any speculation he may not run again by accepting a position with the Trump administration.
“I really love my work on the Intelligence Committee,” he said. “If President Trump were to ask me directly to come work for him, I would consider that.”
Stewart added he has not had specific discussions with President Trump about an administration job. Instead, he is hoping to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee if Republicans regain the majority in Congress in 2020.
Stewart will be seeking his 5th term in 2020. He was first elected in 2012 after Democrat Jim Matheson switched districts to run in the newly-drawn 4th District.
Stewart had the closest election in his career in 2018, when he defeated Democrat Shireen Ghorbani with 56% of the vote. Prior to 2018, he consistently grabbed 60% of the vote or more.