Bob Stevenson takes lead in Republican contest to replace Rob Bishop in Congress

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Davis County Commissioner Bob Stevenson is the frontrunner in the GOP race to replace Rep Rob Bishop with just over a month to the June primary election.

A new 2News survey shows Stevenson pulling in 38 percent support among likely Republican primary voters. Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt gets 26 percent. Kerry Gibson, a former Utah lawmaker and Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food, has 20 percent support, while businessman Blake Moore is at 16 percent.

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The survey from Y2 Analytics was conducted May 16-18, right as Witt was embroiled in a controversy over holding a public concert from country music star Collin Raye in defiance of state coronavirus restrictions. Witt’s involvement in the concert led to condemnation from the Kaysville City Council and calls for her resignation in some corners. On Thursday, it was announced the concert would be moved away from Kaysville to Grantsville.

Witt’s seeming play for the support of right-wing voters did not seem to benefit her much. She was the third choice among voters who described themselves as “strongly conservative.” Stevenson gets 41 percent support among that group, while Moore is the second choice at 28 percent. Witt gets 17 percent support.

“Moderate conservative” voters are split among Stevenson, Witt and Gibson.

Stevenson and Witt took the state’s signature route to qualify for the ballot, while Gibson and Moore qualified by finishing first and second through the state convention last month. The four candidates emerged from a crowded field of 13 Republicans who filed to run for the seat being vacated by Rob Bishop who is retiring after nine terms in Washington. Bishop is running as the running mate of Republican gubernatorial candidate Thomas Wright.

Moore launched a $100,000 ad buy on Wednesday hoping to boost his support among voters, but the effectiveness of those commercials are not measured in this survey.

Witt gets the most support among women voters, while Stevenson is far and away the choice of men. 32 percent of women say they would cast a ballot for Witt, while 49 percent of men plan on voting for Stevenson. 

The winner of the June Republican primary will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Jaime Cheek and Darren Parry.

The Republican nominee will be a heavy favorite to win the general election in November. The Cook Political Report rates Utah’s First Congressional District as R+25, meaning a Republican candidate, on average, will perform 25 points better than the national average.

The survey from Y2 Analytics was conducted May 16-18, 2020 among 127 likely Republican primary voters with an 8.7 percent margin of error.