Former President Donald Trump endorsed Utah Republican Rep. Celeste Maloy on Monday, eight days before her hotly contested primary bid, and less than two months after Sen. Mike Lee endorsed her opponent, Colby Jenkins.

“Congresswoman Celeste Maloy is a great advocate for the wonderful people of Utah’s 2nd Congressional District!” Trump said in a post on his Truth Social account. “Celeste is fighting to Secure the Border, Create Jobs, Restore American Energy Independence, Support our Military/Veterans, Defend Religious Liberty, and Protect our always under siege Second Amendment. Celeste Maloy has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

This is Trump’s second endorsement in Utah’s primary election season. Trump endorsed Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs in the crowded race to replace Sen. Mitt Romney just hours before the state GOP nominating convention, which Staggs won in a landslide.

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Trump’s typically influential GOP primary endorsement will be put to the test the Beehive State, but for different reasons in each race. Staggs faces heavy fundraising and polling shortfalls compared to current 3rd District Rep. John Curtis. And Maloy faces opposition from one of Utah’s most well-known Republican leaders as Lee devotes time and resources to securing endorsements and touring the state with Jenkins.

“I look forward to working with President Trump to advance the conservative agenda and strengthen America’s position as a world leader,” Maloy said. “I am committed to working with conservatives to secure the border, stop the Biden spending spree and runaway inflation, and regain our energy independence.”

Maloy won a special election in 2023 to replace Rep. Chris Stewart, her former boss, in Utah’s 2nd District. Following votes by Maloy on legislation Lee opposed, and an in-depth interview between Lee and Jenkins on how he would vote if elected, the senator took the unprecedented step of weighing in on a Utah congressional primary to prevent Maloy from serving a second term.

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Lee’s decision, which came as a surprise to Maloy, was announced two days before the state GOP convention where Jenkins beat Maloy 57%-43% among delegates. Both convention-only candidates crossed the threshold necessary to appear on the Utah Republican primary ballot on June 25.

During her first term, Maloy has introduced legislation — with Lee — to transfer some federal lands to Utah, passed a bill to improve government programs for women-owned small businesses, has pushed the Justice Department to crack down on teen vaping and has voted against further military aid to Ukraine.

Maloy’s vote in favor of the $1.2 trillion 2024 government funding package and her decision to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, after the failure of an amendment requiring warrants to collect information from Americans, both served as reasons for Lee’s endorsement and fodder for Jenkins’ campaign attacks.

Maloy was previously endorsed by two top Trump officials: former national security adviser Robert O’Brien and former Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. She has also been endorsed by House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La.; House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; and Utah’s entire House delegation.

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