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Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Chaffetz, Stewart, Bishop win another term in Congress

By McKenzie Romero  |  Posted Nov 8th, 2016 @ 11:55pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Three of Utah's Republican congressmen will return to the nation's capital.

The Associated Press called races for Reps. Jason Chaffetz, Chris Stewart and Rob Bishop about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, even as long lines at polling places in Salt Lake and other counties delayed results late into the evening.

Chaffetz, R-Utah, was leading Democrat Stephen Tryon in the 3rd Congressional District race, according to results shortly after 11 p.m.

Chaffetz, who was first elected in 2008, had secured 74 percent of votes for the district, which covers areas of southern and eastern Utah, and includes Orem and Provo. Tryon trailed with 26 percent.

Speaking to a group gathered for the GOP party in the Rice-Eccles Stadium tower, Chaffetz said Tuesday night he felt the weight of his office.

"It's an honor and a privilege to serve in the Congress. It's something you should never, ever take for granted," said Chaffetz, who spent the evening flanked by his wife and daughter.

As he was on stage, Chaffetz was interrupted by cheers as projections continued to roll in in favor of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump around 9:30 p.m.

"I think we should practice calling him President Trump," he remarked. Chants of "Lock her up" broke out briefly as he left the stage.

Tryon clashed with Chaffetz, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, over his dogged pursuit of Democrat Hillary Clinton and government intrusion in the name of national and cybersecurity during a debate last month.

Tryon told supporters Tuesday night, "No matter what happens, we respect the results of our constitutional process.

"We will continue to fight," he said. "If need be, we'll come back in two years or in four years to take this thing back."

Moving forward, Tryon said Democrats must "stay committed" to fighting for their principles: raising the minimum wage, fixing Social Security and "taking care of the everyday American."

"This has been a terrific campaign, and I enjoyed being able to carry that Democratic message. I want you to remember we have the right answers. Stay true to that, no matter what happens," he said.

Stewart was on track to hold onto the seat he took after Democrat Jim Matheson vacated it in his 2012 race against Mia Love. He held 61 percent of votes as of 11:10 p.m.

In a debate last month, Stewart questioned how well his opponent, Charlene Albarran, really knows the 2nd Congressional District, which she recently moved into. The district includes Salt Lake City, where Albarran now lives, and covers much of western and southern Utah.

Albarran had 35 percent of the vote.

Stewart told the increasingly raucous crowd at the U. Tuesday night, "We've got a chance to start over."

"We can save the American dream if we do this right, and tonight's the start of doing that," Stewart said.

Rep. Rob Bishop was leading in the race for the District 1 seat that he has held since 2013.

It was Democratic challenger Peter Clemens' second congressional bid. He previously ran in 2014 but was eliminated in the primaries.

Bishop held 63 percent of the vote over Clemens' 30 percent as of 11:10 p.m.

Bishop and Clemens sparred over the fight for public lands at the proposed Bears Ears national monument during a debate last month, where Bishop argued the monument has no support from Native Americans in Utah, and Clemens called the congressman's compromise bill a grab at oil and gas land.

Bishop thanked those who re-elected him in a statement Tuesday, noting he is "still really just a schoolteacher."

"I will work every day to take Utah's conservative values to Washington," he said. "I will keep fighting hard for Hill Air Force Base, to make sure Utah's voice is heard on public lands decisions, and to push federalism in order to bring governing decisions closer to people. This is the greatest nation in the world, and our best days are still ahead."

Clemens conceded the race just before 10 p.m. He said he spent the day "chasing ballots" and taking hundreds of phone calls, including one from Ogden's Republican mayor, Mike Caldwell, who praised his campaign.

"While this outcome, of course, is not what we'd hoped, we nonetheless raised some key issues that Rob Bishop has finally been forced to acknowledge and address," Clemens said in his statement. "We ran a campaign that forced him to respond in ways people say he's never done before, and we definitely caught his attention."

Though their enthusiasm fluctuated during the election, Chaffetz, Stewart and Bishop all pledged to support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

McKenzie Romero
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