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Maloy’s slim lead in Utah House race heading to recount

Good also not conceding in Virginia; Freedom Caucus ousts colleague who opposed him

Utah Republican Rep. Celeste Maloy who was sworn in in November, faces a primary recount.
Utah Republican Rep. Celeste Maloy who was sworn in in November, faces a primary recount. (Tom WIlson/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Utah Rep. Celeste Maloy’s bid for a full term is heading for a Republican primary recount, though she expects to prevail.

Maloy was ahead by 219 votes over challenger Colby Jenkins on Tuesday when The Associated Press said the race was too close to call. Maloy led Jenkins by less than 0.25 percent of the total vote, the threshold below which the state pays for the recount.

Local officials have been counting ballots and canvassing since the June 25 primary. Maloy, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won a special election for the seat in Utah’s 2nd District in November to succeed her former boss, Republican Rep. Chris Stewart, who had resigned.

Jenkins, an Army Special Forces veteran, has the backing of Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Lee backed Jenkins after tangling with Maloy over a bill to reauthorize a portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Both Republicans supported requiring the government to get a warrant before searching for the information of Americans. But when an effort to put that requirement in the law failed, Maloy voted in favor of reauthorization.

The Deseret News reported Tuesday that the Jenkins campaign intended to formally request the recount if the race remained within the recount margin after a state canvass, scheduled for July 22. Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson posted on X that if a recount is ordered, “All uncounted ballots will be reexamined.”

Jenkins and his team have alleged that there are issues with ballot counting in Southern Utah, specifically with mail-in ballots routed by the U.S. Postal Service through a processing facility in Las Vegas that apparently missed a postmark deadline. The county clerk in Iron County, Utah, said that more than 400 ballots in his county may have been postmarked late, according to Iron County Today.

“I know we’re in potential recount territory, but I don’t anticipate that a recount will change the outcome,” Maloy told local reporters Tuesday.

Virginia race also in recount

The Utah race is the second Republican primary held in June where it appears the Trump-backed candidate is ahead but the trailing candidate is challenging the results.

State Sen. John McGuire has a 374-vote lead over incumbent Rep. Bob Good in the GOP primary in Virginia’s 5th District, which was held June 18. Good, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, has not conceded, and his campaign has until Friday to petition the commonwealth for the recount. McGuire leads by 0.6 percentage points, and the margin below which the state would pay for a recount is 0.5 points, so Good’s campaign would have to fund the effort if the results do not change.

The Daily Progress reported that Good’s campaign manager said they had the funding needed for the effort.

Good was one of eight Republicans who voted last year to oust Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and McCarthy and his backers targeted Good for defeat. The primary has had ramifications on Capitol Hill as well. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, who campaigned with McGuire, was ousted from the Freedom Caucus on Monday. Davidson posted on X that he thought Congress would “be a better place” without Good.

“I am disappointed that some HFC members (a very narrow majority of those present) viewed my opposition to Bob and support for John McGuire as an attack on them or the group. While that was not my intent, their opposition to me was intended,” Davidson said.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., responded to Davidson’s post by criticizing Freedom Caucus members who have opposed Trump.

“The only thing they have accomplished is making Paul Ryan and Mike Johnson Speakers of the House,” Greene posted. “And look how that turned out!”

Daniela Altimari contributed to this report.

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