Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart is still mulling a resignation date after officially announcing he would step down before his sixth term comes to an end.

That’s despite the congressman telling a Roll Call reporter Wednesday that he is eying September as a possible exit month.

“We’re trying to work out the best date for the state and also we want to help with appropriations bills and get some work finished here. But it’ll be in September,” Stewart told the outlet on Wednesday.

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However Liam Anderson, a spokesperson for Stewart, confirmed Thursday that nothing is official yet, telling the Deseret News that staff is “still working with state leaders and Speaker McCarthy’s office to nail down a time frame, so there’s no set date as of now.”

Stewart, in a statement issued Wednesday, said it has been “one of the great honors of my life to serve the good people of Utah in Congress.”

“... But my wife’s health concerns have made it necessary that I retire from Congress after an orderly transition can be ensured.”

Under Utah law, Gov. Spencer Cox will have seven days after receiving a resignation letter to issue a proclamation setting the dates for a special primary and general election. The primary must coincide with an existing election, and be at least 90 days after the proclamation. And the general must be at least 90 days after the primary.

During that stretch, the state’s massive 2nd Congressional District — which encompasses much of western Utah, spanning parts of Salt Lake City all the way to Washington County — would be without representation in the House. And Republicans, who hold a nine-person majority over the Democrats, would be out a vote.

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Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, following the news that Stewart was planning on leaving Congress, said that the Aug. 15 municipal primary — the closest upcoming election — was not an option for a special election.

Utah will hold a general municipal election on Nov. 7 and a presidential primary on March 5, 2024. 

If Stewart doesn’t resign until September that would mean the March 2024 primary would be the next option. Or, on the Utah Legislature’s approval, Cox could set dates for a special election that don’t fall on an existing election day.

For that to happen, lawmakers would have to appropriate funding, so county clerks in the 2nd Congressional District can run an election.

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