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Owens passes up run for Appropriations seat

Former New York Jets great says he'd prefer to focus on education policy

Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, leaves a House GOP Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on May 10, 2023.
Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, leaves a House GOP Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club on May 10, 2023. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The contest for the open House Republican appropriations seat will remain a three-person race, as Utah Rep. Burgess Owens has decided to pass on a run. 

Owens, a former NFL safety who played primarily for the New York Jets, said Wednesday that he wanted to remain focused on his work on the Education and the Workforce Committee. 

“My focus has been, from the beginning, education,” he said. “We have so much to do there and we’re trying to really disrupt the system. So I’d rather focus there.” 

[Owens weighs intercepting a House Appropriations seat]

The House Republican Steering Committee could meet as early as Monday to select the new member of the committee, a source familiar with the tentative plans said. 

House Republicans filled a vacancy on steering by selecting Utah’s Blake D. Moore as the new conference vice chair in an election Wednesday, replacing Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La. 

Oregon’s Lori Chavez-DeRemer, North Carolina’s Chuck Edwards and New York’s Nick LaLota are running for the seat, which retired Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, left vacant Sept. 15. 

All three Republicans who are running for the seat have made regional representation a central focus of their pitches. 

Chavez-DeRemer would be the first appropriator from Oregon since 1993. Edwards would be the only appropriator from North Carolina following the retirement of longtime Democratic appropriator David E. Price at the end of the last Congress. 

And New York Republicans would like to see one of their own on the committee after playing a central role in flipping the House majority during the 2022 elections. LaLota’s Long Island district is rated Lean Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. 

Chavez-DeRemer also represents a swing district, rated as a Toss-Up by Inside Elections. 

Stewart’s retirement also opens up his subcommittee seats, including what will be a very sought-after role on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee. He also served on the Interior-Environment and State-Foreign Operations panels.

Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger, R-Texas, will fill the subcommittee seats.

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