Burgess Owens, GOP congressmen win reelection in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens won reelection to a second term on Tuesday, solidifying the Republican Party’s grip on Utah’s delegation to Washington as it vies for control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Republican Reps. Blake Moore, Chris Stewart and John Curtis also won and will return for another two years. It will be Stewart’s sixth term in office.

Their wins maintain the balance of power in Utah, which has had four Republicans and zero Democrats in Congress since Owens defeated Democrat Ben McAdams to win his first term in 2020.

Stewart, Curtis and Owens gave brief remarks about GOP successes at a Utah Republican Party election night event in Salt Lake City, where supporters drank non-alcoholic beverages and watched returns trickle in on a big projector broadcasting Fox News.

“How many of you really love your country?” Stewart asked, revving up a crowd of hundreds, including some chanting “USA.”

“That is why we’re here tonight,” he said.

It’s the first election since Utah’s Republican-controlled Legislature redrew the state’s political maps to divide liberal-leaning Salt Lake City among the four districts. Lawmakers said they wanted each district to include rural and urban areas so lawmakers were invested in both, but in the process they shored up the party’s advantage in one historic swing district, adding Republican voters and subtracting Democrats.

Historically, three of the state’s four congressional districts have been almost sure bets for Republicans. The final district — a suburban swath extending south from Salt Lake City through towns such as West Jordan, Lehi and Saratoga Springs — has traded hands between the parties.

Moore, Stewart and Curtis each won election in 2020 convincingly. Owens defeated McAdams by one percentage point after a prolonged vote count and an Election Night tally that was too early to call.

Owens is one of two Black Republicans in the House and has campaigned throughout the country as the party has worked to expand support among minority groups in the 2022 midterms. He sits on the House Committee on Education and Labor and the Judiciary Committee, which oversaw impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump.

A former professional football player and Super Bowl champion, he has defied traditions since being elected. He chose to skip a televised debate hosted by a non-partisan state commission in October and skipped a routine meeting with statehouse Democrats in January. He appeared against Democrat Darlene McDonald in an untelevised, candidate-organized debate last month. He voted against certifying the 2020 election results in Pennsylvania.