State Sen. Mike Kennedy announced he has formed an exploratory committee to test the waters for a 2024 congressional campaign if 3rd District congressman Rep. John Curtis runs for U.S. Senate.

The Deseret News broke the news last month that Kennedy was considering another bid for national office. Kennedy left his seat in the Utah House representing Highland and Alpine to run a failed Senate primary challenge to Mitt Romney in 2018. Kennedy returned to state politics in 2020 when he won a special election to represent northern Utah County in the state Senate.

Kennedy’s Friday announcement is the most concrete step taken so far among a group of congressional hopefuls waiting to throw their hat in the ring if Curtis makes his widely expected announcement that he will swap a 2024 House reelection effort for a Senate one. Former Curtis challenger Chris Herrod, state auditor John Dougall and Roosevelt Mayor Rod Bird Jr. have also said they were considering a run to replace Curtis.

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Kennedy currently represents roughly 20% of 3rd District voters as a state lawmaker and has the support of Utah Senate President Stuart Adams and House Speaker Mike Schultz, according to a press release issued Friday.

“Our nation is at a pivotal moment, facing a staggering debt crisis, eroding freedoms, and a lack of common sense and civility in policy-making,” Kennedy said in a statement. “I am exploring a Congressional bid because now more than ever we need conservatives who can work with others to confront these issues head-on, bringing fiscal restraint, enhanced border security, and common sense leadership to Washington.”

Working as a family doctor with a practice in Lindon, Kennedy has prioritized health care issues during his eight years in office, recently sponsoring a bill that banned transgender surgeries for Utah youth and another prohibiting employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccines.

“We need leaders who will listen and always look to work with others, but aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo and fight tirelessly for the values that make Utah and our country great,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy received a law degree from Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School before studying medicine at Michigan State University. He has eight children and eight grandchildren.

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