Trump critic takes on Derek and Julianne Hough’s father Bruce in Utah special election testing what Republicans REALLY think about ex-president’s indictments
Utah’s special election on Tuesday could put to the test for the first time since Donald Trump’s indictments whether voters will stick by the ex-President and his backers despite the mounting legal complications.
Julianne and Derek Hough’s father, who voted for Trump in 2020, is running in Utah’s special election to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah). Meanwhile, voters will also decide who will take the seat of former Democratic Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline vacated earlier this year.
Tuesday’s primary special elections are in heavily partisan districts, meaning that the Republican nominee in Utah’s 2nd district and the Democratic one in Rhode Island’s 1st district will likely head to Congress.
This means the election will likely not see any party-line changes in the House pending an upset in the general election.
In Utah, there is very little difference between the three Republican candidates on the ballot looking to replace Stewart, who announced earlier this year he would leave Congress in September.
Derek and Julianne Hough’s father Bruce Hough (right) is running for Congress in Utah’s 2nd congressional district as the only Republican candidate who voted for Donald Trump in 2020
The special election Tuesday is the first since Trump’s fourth and latest indictment – and will put to the test whether voters still want pro-Trump candidates in office
The main difference between the three candidates is whether or not they support Trump.
Celeste Maloy is a former congressional attorney for Stewart and earned his endorsement in the race to take his seat. Maloy got a spot on the ballot by amassing support from enough delegates at a special election convention.
Meanwhile, former state lawmakers Becky Edwards and Bruce Hough, who is also a former Utah Republican National Committee chairman, both qualified to run by earning the required signatures to get on the ballot.
Hough, father of famous dancers Julianne and Derek, appears to be the only pro-Trump candidate in the race.
Edwards said she voted for Joe Biden rather than Donald Trump in 2020. And Maloy says she hasn’t voted in a presidential election in years.
Hough is capitalizing on the Trump angle by emphasizing that he voted for the ex-President in the 2020 election.
The four-times indicted former president turned himself over to authorities in Fulton County, Georgia last month. It was the first time his mugshot was taken and released despite three prior bookings.
Poll after poll shows that voters are still supporting Trump above all other candidates in the 2024 presidential race, but Tuesday’s special election in Utah could prove whether GOP voters there still see a candidate’s pro-Trump leaning as a reason to sent them to Congress.
Utah’s special election will see who replaces outgoing Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart, who announced earlier this year that he will leave Congress in September. Utah’s 2nd district is highly partisan, so whoever wins the GOP primary on Tuesday will likely be the next lawmaker for the district in Congress
Meanwhile, across the country, around a dozen candidates are vying for former Democratic Rep. David Cicilline’s seat in Rhode Island’s 1st congressional district after he left the seat vacant at the end of May
While Edwards is ahead, according to a Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll released last week, a whopping 47 percent of registered Republican voters say they are undecided for whom they would cast their ballot.
Edwards earned 32 percent support from those who plan to vote in the primary election on Tuesday, while 11 percent said they would cast their ballot for Hough. Maloy, despite having the outgoing congressman’s support, comes in third and last place with 9 percent support.
Maloy, Edwards and Hough are largely in agreement on some of the biggest issues to voters, like the economy, government spending, taxes and even the war in Ukraine.
The other special election on Tuesday is taking place across the country to see who will replace former Rep. David Cicilline, who left Congress in May and now leads the Rhode Island Foundation.
There are nearly a dozen candidates vying to take the seat in the northeast state.
Despite the competitive nature of this particular race, there are also few differences between the several candidates in the race – just like in Utah.
None of the candidates are risking their current positions since there are no other elections happening at the same time as Tuesday’s special primary election, which is likely why the contest has seen so many candidates enter the running.
Rhode Island’s Lieutenant Gov. Sabina Matos appears to have an edge over the rest of the crowded field. She is endorsed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ Bold PAC and the pro-abortion Emily’s List.
Matos’ campaign got embroiled in a scandal over fraudulent petition signatures to get her on the ballot, which the lieutenant governor’s campaign blamed on an outside vendor.
The Congressional Black Caucus is backing former White House staffer Gabe Amo. Progressives Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) are backing former Rhode Island state lawmaker Aaron Regunberg.
Other candidates in Rhode Island’s election are current local leaders like state Rep. Stephen Casey, state Sen. Ana Quezada, state Sen. Sandra Cano and Providence City Council member John Goncalves.