Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) confirmed on Wednesday that he would be leaving Congress amid his sixth term, citing his wife’s health.
“I can say with pride that I have been an effective leader for my beloved home state, and I’m honored to have played an important role in guiding our nation through some troubled times,” Stewart said in a statement. “But my wife’s health concerns have made it necessary that I retire from Congress after an orderly transition can be ensured.”
While not providing details about the health of his wife, Evie, Stewart added in a tweet, “It’s been one of the great honors of my life to represent Utah in the People’s House. God bless you all, and God bless America.”
Under Utah law, Gov. Spencer Cox (R) will call a special election to fill the vacancy in Stewart’s Congressional District, which includes much of western Utah.
His district, Utah’s 2nd, is reliably Republican. However, any vacancy could make passing legislation difficult for the GOP, which holds a slim majority in the House.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said of Stewart, “He has sacrificed, his family has sacrificed, but at this moment right now his spouse needs him. So he’s made that decision. It was not an easy decision for him. But we will continue to hold that seat.”
McCarthy further stated that focusing on taking care of his wife’s health is “the decision everybody should make at that time.”