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Mike Kennedy advances past crowded GOP primary to secure nomination for open Utah House seat

Republican voters on Tuesday picked who they wanted to represent them in the upcoming general election race for Utah's open 3rd Congressional District seat.

Mike Kennedy on Tuesday won the Republican nomination for Utah’s 3rd Congressional District to replace outgoing Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, becoming the immediate favorite to win the seat in November.

Kennedy beat fellow Republicans JR Bird, John Dougall, Case Lawrence and Stewart Peay in a packed primary pool for the district. Curtis is vacating his seat to run for U.S. Senate to replace outgoing Sen. Mitt Romney.

Kennedy, a state senator, had won the party’s nomination for the seat in April but faced challenges from other candidates who gathered signatures to be on the ballot. Peay had won the endorsement of Romney, who is also Peay’s wife’s uncle. Kennedy had won the endorsement of Sen. Mike Lee, who said he was needed to “fight against the Uniparty and help get this country back on track.”


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Bird, a mayor, emphasized his experience of running a small town as well as the importance of the energy sector and agriculture, according to the Deseret News.

Dougall, the state auditor, had run as an anti-MAGA candidate and had slammed some GOP legislation, including what he saw as an overly aggressive bill that tasks him with enforcing a ban on transgender-identifying individuals using restrooms that are inconsistent with their sex.

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He has also been deeply critical of former President Trump. On Tuesday on X, he also questioned the “cavalier manner” of any official who swears to uphold the Constitution “then endorses Trump following January 6th.” He has advertised himself as “mainstream, not MAGA.”

At a debate this month, candidates split on the question of military funding to Ukraine as well as whether the federal government should explicitly ban abortion. Peay, Dougall and Case Lawrence – a trampoline park entrepreneur – had called on Congress to keep sending weapons to Ukraine to help it fend off the ongoing Russian invasion.

Bird and Kennedy disagreed, arguing that it was not beneficial to the U.S. to keep funding the Ukrainians, with the two calling for stronger sanctions and the seizure of Russian assets.

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Kennedy will go on to face Democrat Glenn Wright in the November election, but the Republican is favored to win comfortably in a district that has voted Republican since 1997.

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Elsewhere in the state, Republican Gov. Spencer Cox, a major GOP Trump critic, held off a primary challenge from Phil Lyman, another 2020 election denier who easily won the state party convention.

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

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