Trump-Backed Lawmaker Faces Likely Recount in Utah Race

Representative Celeste Maloy, a candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump, faces a likely recount as Tuesday’s Republican primary race to represent Utah’s 2nd District in Congress remains too close to call.

According to the Associated Press (AP), which has yet to call the race following certifications from nearly all counties in the district on Tuesday, Maloy leads by just 220 votes against challenger Colby Jenkins. The difference of 0.2 percentage points falls well within Utah’s 0.25 percent threshold for a recount.

The recount process, overseen by the state’s chief election officer Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson is set to begin following a formal request from Jenkins and after the statewide canvass on July 22. Jenkins will have a week to submit his request and the recount must then be conducted within a week of that request. All ballots will then be recounted, and election officials will reexamine uncounted ballots to ensure every vote is tallied.

Newsweek reached out to Maloy’s campaign via an online form and Jenkins’ campaign via email on Wednesday for comment.

U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, swears in Representative Celeste Maloy, a Utah Republican, at the U.S. Capitol on November 28, 2023, in Washington, DC. Following Tuesday’s Republican primary race to…

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Both Maloy and Jenkins remain confident of their respective chances with Jenkins telling the AP in a text message: “There are many ballots in our southern Utah stronghold that have still yet to be counted due to postmarking issues. After the final state canvass, we intend to request a recount to ensure that every last vote in the district has been counted.”

Meanwhile, Maloy reportedly told reporters on Zoom, “I know we’re in potential recount territory, but I don’t anticipate that a recount will change the outcome. I have confidence in the county clerks and their teams and the way they’ve done their jobs.”

The potential recount comes after Maloy, who is seeking her first full term in Congress after winning a special election last fall, received a late endorsement from Trump. Meanwhile, Jenkins, a retired U.S. Army officer and telecommunications specialist, had already secured the backing from Utah Senator Mike Lee, who is one of the state’s most prominent figures in the Republican Party.

However, despite his earlier victory at the state GOP convention, Jenkins had been trailing Maloy in the two weeks since Election Day.

A win for Maloy would mark Trump’s only victory in Utah this election cycle. This race also follows the recent loss of Trump-endorsed Senate candidate Trent Staggs to the more moderate Representative John Curtis in Utah.

Last month, Trump backed Staggs in the race to replace Republican Senator Mitt Romney just days before the primary.

However, Staggs was seen as a “long shot,” according to both the former president and the subsequent polls.

Even with a likely recount looming in Utah’s 2nd District, the eventual Republican primary victor is favored to win against Democratic nominee Nathaniel Woodward in November. The district has not seen Democratic representation since 2013.