A rare special election is likely in Utah’s future after news broke Tuesday that GOP Rep. Chris Stewart plans to resign.

Though nothing is official yet, Utah code gives the governor seven days after the seat is officially vacant to issue a proclamation calling for a special congressional election.

The seat is not considered vacant unless the representative submits a letter of resignation, or leaves office. Stewart hasn’t done either of those things, yet.

Sources: Rep. Chris Stewart plans to resign congressional seat

The proclamation must set the date for both the primary and general special elections. Utah code specifies that the primary must be at least 90 days after the proclamation is issued, and coincide with an existing primary election. And the general must be 90 days after the primary, and coincide with an existing general election.

Although the Aug. 15 municipal primary election is coming up, Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson on Tuesday said that would not be eligible for a special election, too.

“The municipal primary election in August is not on the list of options for any potential congressional special elections,” she said.

Hypothetically, if Stewart were to resign tomorrow and Utah Gov. Spencer Cox issued a proclamation in the following days, the seat would remain vacant until the election is final. Under this scenario, and with Aug. 15 not an option, that could mean House Republicans are down one vote until next year’s primary.

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However, the governor can set the dates for a special election outside of existing election dates if the legislature gives its approval and appropriates the needed funds.

A similar situation played out in the U.S. Senate this year, after Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was hospitalized for shingles and absent for nearly three months, leaving Democrats a vote short.

Utah law requires that each registered political party get a maximum 28 days to select a candidate, through either the signature gathering or convention processes.

Though rare, this will be Utah’s second special election in the last decade, after former Rep. Jason Chaffetz stepped away from his 3rd District seat in 2017.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz announces he is leaving Congress June 30
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