Former Utah Rep. Chris Stewart announced his endorsement of Rep. John Curtis on Thursday in Curtis’ bid to replace Utah Sen. Mitt Romney.

Stewart and Curtis served together in Congress from 2017 to 2023, when Stewart resigned to spend more time with his wife who was suffering from health problems.

In a press release issued by the Curtis campaign, Stewart praised his former colleague’s leadership qualities.

“John Curtis is a proven leader who consistently puts the needs of Utahns first,” Stewart said. “I’ve had the privilege of working alongside John in Congress, and I can attest to his integrity, his work ethic, and his unwavering commitment to our state. He is simply one of the finest leaders I have ever known, and I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the strongest leaders in our country.

He continued: “Utah needs a Senator who will fight for our values, and I know that John Curtis is the right person for the job. John will join with other conservative members of the Senate and work with President Trump — focusing on issues that are best for Utah.”

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Since leaving Congress to join a new government affairs firm with former national security adviser Robert O’Brien, Stewart has refrained form wading into Utah politics, with one exception — when he endorsed his former staffer, Celeste Maloy, to fill his vacant 2nd District seat. Maloy went on to win the Utah Republican Party convention, primary and general elections.

Curtis has served for seven years in the U.S. House of Representatives. He has passed 19 bills into law during his tenure, including the Emery County Public Land Management Act, which established the San Rafael Swell Recreation Area and Jurassic National Monument, expanded Goblin Valley State Park and secured 100,000 acres of school trust land in Utah.

Curtis has also spearheaded efforts to mainstream climate-conscious energy policy among conservatives by forming the rapidly-growing Conservative Climate Caucus, leading Republican delegations to the United Nations climate conference and advocating for an “affordable, reliable and clean” energy transition that makes room for fossil fuels and prioritizes innovation in nuclear energy.

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On conservative scorecards and voting with President Donald Trump, Curtis scores high, but he is one of the only Senate candidates who has not officially endorsed Trump.

Curtis swapped a House reelection bid for a Senate campaign in January after first declaring he would not run for Romney’s seat then changing his mind.

Curtis is running in a crowded field of candidates hoping to become Utah’s next junior senator. Former state House Speaker Brad Wilson officially jumped in the race in September. He has since received the endorsement of Gov. Spencer Cox and several dozen state lawmakers and local officials.

Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs, who was the first candidate to launch his campaign last May, has received endorsements from several national figures, including Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., and Arizona GOP Senate candidate Kari Lake.

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Other Senate candidates include attorney Brent Hatch, Moxie Pest Control CEO Jason Walton, conservative political adviser Carolyn Phippen and four others.

The Republican state convention will be held on April 27. Candidates who receive more than 40% of delegate votes, or who have gathered enough verified signatures, will appear on the primary ballot on June 25.

The GOP nominee who emerges from the primary will face off against the nominees from other registered political parties in the Nov. 5 general election.

The Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in Utah include mountaineer Caroline Gleich, Archie Williams III and Laird Hamblin.

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