Former Utah Rep. Chris Stewart endorsed 3rd Congressional District candidate Stewart Peay on Monday.

The endorsement comes less than two weeks after the longtime dean of Utah’s House delegation endorsed his former colleague, and current 3rd District congressman, John Curtis for U.S. Senate.

Stewart, who served in the U.S. Air Force before landing a place on the prestigious House Intelligence Committee, said Peay’s national security credentials differentiated him from a crowded Republican primary of nine candidates.

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“Stewart Peay is a man of integrity, honor and leadership. He has been fighting for our country his entire adult life. I want to help him keep fighting,” Stewart said in a press release. “For freedom; for our nation; for us. Please join me in supporting Stewart Peay for Congress.”

Peay is a lawyer who specializes in commercial litigation at a private firm. He served 12 years in the Utah Army National Guard, including a yearlong tour during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Peay previously told the Deseret News his background as an Iraq veteran in military intelligence makes him the most qualified on issues of foreign policy. The U.S. should continue to assist its allies abroad, including Ukraine, to deter future aggression from China, Peay said at the time.

“I share Congressman Stewart’s passion for conservative principles and his love of country. He is an experienced lawmaker and decorated veteran. His absence from our delegation leaves Utah without a representative who has served in the military,” Peay said in Monday’s announcement.

He continued: “Utah’s veterans and active duty members deserve a reliable voice in Congress who will prioritize their interests. I look forward to continuing Congressman Stewart’s successful record of advocating for a strong national defense, border security and taking care of our veterans.”

Peay was previously the chair of the Utah County Republican Party.

Peay was one of five 3rd District candidates to submit signatures to qualify for the primary ballot. The Utah lieutenant governor’s office has certified nearly 6,900 of Peay’s signatures, with Peay expected to cross the 7,000-signature threshold sometime this week.

Other Republican hopefuls include Roosevelt Mayor JR Bird, Utah state auditor John “Frugal” Dougall and Sky Zone founder Case Lawrence, who have all qualified for the June 25 primary with 7,000 certified signatures. Former Senate staffer Kathryn Dahlin has also submitted her signatures but the certification process is ongoing.

Former state Rep. Chris Herrod, state Sen. Mike Kennedy and Utah Young Republicans chair Zac Wilson have chosen to place their primary qualification entirely in the hands of state delegates in the Utah GOP nominating convention on April 27.

Lucky Bovo, a professional pilot and former Libertarian Party candidate, is also running.

The winner(s) of April’s state convention will appear on the ballot in a vote-by-mail primary election on June 25 along with those who successfully gathered 7,000 verified signatures.

On Nov. 5, the Republican nominee will face off against Democratic candidate Glenn Wright. An Air Force veteran and former member of the Summit County Council, Wright ran against Curtis in 2022 and lost.

No third-party candidates registered for the 3rd Congressional District race.