Utah Primaries: Testing Trump’s Influence in Key Races

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Utah voters will head to the polls this week in primary races that will test the influence of former President Donald Trump in the state. Trump’s election performance in Utah has been lackluster by typical Republican measures, with his 2016 performance receiving 45.5% of the vote and his 2020 showing a slight improvement at 58%. Utah Republicans typically embrace the most conservative candidates, but the state’s voters sometimes don’t follow party leaders.

The marquee races in Utah include the Republican nomination for the open Senate seat currently held by retiring Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT). Four candidates are vying for the seat, including Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), who is considered the favorite and has received the most fundraising, Rep. Trent Staggs, whom Trump endorsed, and Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson and businessman Jason Walton.

In the 1st Congressional District, Rep. Blake Moore (R-UT) is seeking a third term and will face political newcomer Paul Miller, who won over half of the delegates at the GOP nominating convention. In the 2nd Congressional District, Rep. Celeste Maloy (R-UT) has received Trump’s endorsement, while her opponent, Colby Jenkins, has been endorsed by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

Trump’s endorsement power will be put to the test now that he’s wading into the race after Lee, an outspoken Trump ally, already went all in for Jenkins, a businessman and a military veteran. Lee has toured the state with the former Green Beret and has helped him secure endorsements.

State Sen. Mike Kennedy faces state Auditor John Dougall, business owner Case Lawrence, Roosevelt Mayor J.R. Bird, and attorney Stewart Peay. 

Dougall has been the only candidate in this race willing to criticize the former president and even has a billboard that says, “MAINSTREAM NOT MAGA.” Peay, who has Romney’s endorsement, has attempted to sidestep questions about whether he supports the former president.

Rep. Burgess Owens (R-UT) is running unopposed in this district. Owens will face Democrat Katrina Fallick-Wang in November.

Samantha-Jo Roth
Samantha-Jo Roth
Samantha-Jo Roth covers Congress and campaigns, specifically focusing on the Senate. She previously worked as an on-air correspondent, covering the Florida congressional delegation for Spectrum News. Her reporting on a mysterious disease killing coral off the coast of Florida was nominated for a regional Emmy. She also covered Capitol Hill and national politics for Gray Television.

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