Celeste Maloy, former GOP congressional aide, wins Utah House seat

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Utah Republican Celeste Maloy will be the newest member of Congress to bring the House back to its full complement of 435 members.

Maloy was awarded victory over Democratic state Sen. Kathleen Riebe and a handful of third party candidates in Tuesday’s special election in Utah’s 2nd District, according to The Associated Press. Earlier this year, former GOP Rep. Chris Stewart stepped away from his seat.

Despite being relatively unknown to the voters, Maloy, who is a former congressional aide to Stewart, prevailed in September’s competitive primary over other high-profile candidates. During her campaign, she leaned on her grassroots connections in rural southern Utah, as well as her experience in Washington.

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Her win in the state did not come as a surprise, since UT-02 is a sweeping district that covers parts of Democratic-leaning Salt Lake City, as well as swaths of rural land in southern and western part of the state. In 2020, former president Donald Trump had won the district by double-digits.

Maloy overcame a controversy as the opponents had unsuccessfully challenged to remove her from primary ballot, after learning that she is not registered to vote as an Republican in Utah.