House Republican is reportedly about to resign

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House Republicans are holding onto a slim five vote majority, which given their overall dysfunctional state, has made it difficult for them to get anything done. Worse for Kevin McCarthy, he was elected Speaker with just a one vote margin – meaning he can’t lose anyone. Well, it looks like he’s about to lose someone.

Politico, the AP, and the Salt Lake Tribune are all now reporting that House Republican Chris Stewart is about to resign, citing his wife’s health. Politicians often use health issues and family issues as an excuse for abrupt resignations when there’s actually a scandal brewing. But until we hear otherwise, we’ll accept the story that this really is about his wife’s health, and we wish her well on that front. That said, even if there’s no scandal here for Stewart, this is still potentially a big deal for the House overall.

If Stewart really is resigning this week, there will soon be a special election to fill his seat. Stewart was a popular incumbent who was just reelected by 25 points. Sometimes when a popular incumbent bails, a race becomes more competitive. But even with Stewart out of the picture, this is a R+11 district, meaning it leans eleven points Republican by default.

The political headwinds are all blowing in the Democrats’ direction, but are they good enough to overcome an eleven point gap? That would be quite a stretch. But even if the Republicans do end up winning the special election, Stewart’s seat would sit empty for a bit. And with far right House Republicans now openly talking about trying to oust Kevin McCarthy over his budget deal, they may be about to have a brief window where the ouster math would be a little easier. For McCarthy, the timing for this resignation could not be worse.

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